August 17, 2011

Writer’s Block, Part Two: I’m Afraid to Write About This

Posted in Writer's Block tagged at 8:22 am by Rebecca Hein

It’s hard to write about something that will upset you because, in your own attempts to properly tell the story, you’ll almost certainly run into your deeper feelings. You may sense this before you get that far and find that your sentences twist and turn in your hand like slippery snakes.

This battle may prolong itself for some time before you realize that the words aren’t the problem. Rather, in shying away from pain, you’re skewing your creative process, and your writing is likely to dead-end until you find the courage to face your feelings.

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7 Comments »

  1. It is not uncommon, in the experience of this writer (and I am sure that I speak for many), for sentences of uncommon prolixity, complexity, and fogginess, adumbrated and infloresced with multiple side-branching thoughts and parenthetical winks to the reader, to come pouring out my pen when I’m not sure what I believe. It’s not just about shying away from one’s own feelings, Becky. It also happens when I’m shying away from a big philosophical realization that threatens to morph my world-view.

    • Rebecca Hein said,

      How right you are. When I’m trying to escape a major question or problem of any kind (including philosophical or world-view), I get all tangled up too.

  2. I had the same problem when I wrote my Deliverance from Jericho memoir. Remembering the days when I was exiled 500 miles from home for months at a time, starting when I was 7 years old, was extremely painful. Even so, I forced myself to deal with those incidents. I feel better now and I rarely have nightmares about that horrid institution. I really have been delivered from Jericho now.

  3. I’ve found that the best way to deal with bad memories is to confront them head on but in a safe environment. When I wrote Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) I struggled with the memories of that impersonal institution. A Christian talk show host named June Hunt told me to hand those over to Christ and ask him to take on the pain. By surrendering my claim to revenge and seeing the situations from an adult vantage point, I was able to rid myself of almost all of those bad feelings as well as nightmares of being 500 miles from home for months at a stretch.

  4. Abbie Taylor said,

    I understand what you mean by shying away from negative feelings when writing. Because I don’t want to face such feelings, I haven’t written about such episodes in my life as the time I nearly lost my job as an activities assistant at a nursing home when my boss told me she couldn’t work with my visual impairment.

    Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome
    http://abbiescorneroftheworld.blogspot.com
    http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

    • Rebecca Hein said,

      This sounds very painful, and I don’t wonder that you don’t want to write about it. Yet I’d encourage you to tackle it sometime on the principle of clearing away something that could be blocking your deeper creativity. Thank you for this comment.


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