Do you know what its like to be dead?

Authors/poets/playwrites/artists/musicians do.

I’ll focus on the author/poet, because I am an author, a poet.

Writer’s block is being dead.
An essential part of you is not existing.
You want it to.
You can become desperate for it.
Some turn to alcohol or drugs to try to bring life to that part of themselves.
I’ve even seen the expression, “write drunk, edit sober” bandied about.
It is not about getting drunk, but writing without restriction, with abandon.
Too many don’t understand, and try getting drunk to write and eventually get swallowed up in the need to drink.
Drunk to death by the deeper need to be alive and write.

Too often writer’s block comes from stress, from lack of sleep, from lack of quietude.
Those who need to write to be alive forget to deal with the stress, forget to get more sleep, forget the need to refresh the soul.
You can’t draw water from an empty well.
Those who tell you to drink deeper don’t understand you’ve tried that and the stress of your failure is compounding the problem.

Yes, it is a vicious circle. You’re stressed, so you fail to write, which introduces stress, and you fail to write and so on and so on.

In my arrogance, I thought I’d figured out how to write at will, professionally.
And when I sit to write in one of my novels, I can do exactly that.

Poetry, that was another issue.
I’ve never tried to be a professional poet, to write poetry daily, to sell poetry.
I’d kept poetry for just fun, and wrote when I was inspired to.

Then one day I noticed I’d not written anything for a long time
In my novel, yes, I’d written, but no poetry.
And in my growing stress, I dipped into the well of the things that usually inspire poems, my wife, art, nature-
I was dry.
By not working on poetry, by leaving it as a play thing for inspiration only I’d let the well within go dry.

Recently, I was driving stress crazed through the streets of Boston
I saw a man
I saw a woman
I saw context
I knew a poem was within me from what I’d seen
I held onto that poem until I had time to write it
I wrote it ecstatically, drunk on the image, drunk of writing again

What have I learned?
I must work on my poetry much like how I’ve learned to work on my stories.
This doesn’t mean write every day.
Some days I am too tired for words, and that is okay.
However, I am to look among the daily mundane and pull from it poetry
Not just wait to be inspired
For no matter how inspiring truth, beauty, and love are
I can’t see them if I don’t work on how to look.

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