Yesterday’s suggestion from two separate friends to surprise myself turned out well. I became unblocked relatively quickly, and rallied a blocked day into a cool 850 words. It wasn’t the 2,000 I was hoping for, but it’s better than playing video games all day.
Talking to a third friend today (yes, I have three friends), we were discussing this “surprise” technique, and I came to a complete epiphany:
Most people chase inspiration, but the successful writer chases their blocks.
The reason for this has to do with the split between the Conscious and Unconscious Mind. Inspiration, as far as I can understand it, occurs when the Conscious Mind feels as though it is doing something fun, it is on the right path, etc.
But the UM is operating on a different level. It wants to do something completely different from the CM. And that’s why being blocked is the cousin of inspiration.
Chasing a block means that you are entering into a difficult situation. You will often be throwing out a lot of material that your CM thought was necessary to the book It thought It was going to write. It will cling to those ideas because It believes that is the way for you to go.
All a block is trying to do is point you towards the fact that it’s actually the UM that writes books. In my case, at least, and perhaps in yours.
There’s a sort of “aha!” moment that is different from the elation of inspiration. It’s a moment that feels correct and true. And it has only ever occurred when I have subverted my own conscious expectation of what was to come, and obeyed the undercurrent of my own Creativity, the Thing That Keeps Me at Arm’s Length.
Dreams require sleep, trances require drugs or deep meditation, and access to Creativity requires diving into the difficulty of the Block. There you will find the river of Creativity, and you’ll be able to swim in it, or be carried along by it, until it closes off again (usually in a few thousand words, max). You can jump back in as many times as needed, but there will always be that block, and it will require sleep, meditation, or focus to get back in.
You have to stop chasing inspiration and chase the block instead. That’s the key.