When writing stops in turmoil

Up to last Sunday, I always found that my writer’s block came from within me, from a fear of not being able to write or writing properly or writing wrong or the wrong thing or the constant interruptions of everyday life that jolts me out of the writing routine, but now I add another one – fear of losing a loved one – from something that happens externally that cannot be controlled.

I heard that my dad, who has cancer, was really unwell and in pain for over a week. My mother defied his request not to tell ‘the children’ (the youngest of us is thirty-six) what was happening to him and called us when the worry became too much to bear on her own. What made the situation worse was that they live in another country and between Skype and texts we found out how serious everything had become.

By Thursday, ten days after the problem started, my dad was admitted to hospital and eventually, the news came that we wanted to hear; he was conscious, drinking and could eat by Friday, and now he’s coming home today. He may not be the same again or this was just a blip.

Over the last week, I was in shock at the possibility of losing him and I felt paralysed, could not think about anything except the routine of life and within that routine, writing did not feature. I couldn’t face conjuring up a scene in my mind or placing the next words down on the screen because all I could do was wait for the next text from my mother, after a visit to a doctor or after visiting hours in the hospital.

The fears dropped bit by bit with every sliver of good news that came in over the weekend. Until, at last, this morning, I knew I was ready and started writing again.

So writer’s block for the most part is within my control, when I conquer my own inner fears, the so-called inner critic, I can use basic ways of getting the writing going again e.g. planning small tasks, switching off doubt or writing out the problem, but getting writer’s block when you are worried sick for another person, I’m going to have to figure out how to move beyond that one because it will probably happen again.