The first time I had a writer’s block of years’ duration was after my father died. I realized, in hindsight and after the words started flowing again, that I was blocked because I needed to redefine myself as a writer. I couldn’t tell the same old stories in the same old way. I had changed; my subject matter had changed; my voice was developing in new ways. When the words came back, it was to write something totally new—and when they came back, they came in a flood. I could hardly transcribe fast enough.
The good news was, after the torrent of words started flowing again, I was able to return to some of the older ideas and reshape them to my new self.
Now I am in the midst of another writer’s block of years’ duration. The words stopped first when I became so consumed by taking care of my mother that I didn’t have time for anything but caregiving and my job and trying to keep life together. My mother has been gone two years now, and still the words won’t come. I’ve poked hopefully at several of the things I’d been working on before crisis descended on our lives, and although I like several of those things, nothing happens.
A couple of weeks ago I had the same old epiphany: I need to write something new. I’m not the same person. I have a new subject matter. What that subject matter is hasn’t emerged. It’s not time yet. I still have to be a while longer in the space I’m in. I suspect, as with the last time, when those new stories emerge, they will come to me instinctually rather than intellectually. I won’t figure out the new subject matter in my head because it’s a soul process. And whatever it is, whenever it happens, it will be exciting to see.
Patience is what’s required of me now. And the ability to let myself be. And see.