This week I faced a mean case of writer’s block. I was asked to write an article for a publication that was due Friday. Excited for the opportunity and given the topic being my experience as a black yoga teacher, I knew that I could definitely pull something together, so I nodded unhesitantly to the proposal. But once it came time to put pen to paper….NOTHING! I was stuck. I gave myself the excuse of writer’s block and eventually needed to ask for an extension on the deadline .
I recently listened to a podcast called Akimbo by Seth Godin where he challenged that there is no such thing as writer’s block. He argues that writer’s block is a made up notion to give creatives an excuse for why we can’t. Yes, we my feel stuck, but it is not an inescapable condition. The problem is that we want so desperately want to be perfect. We are not blocked; what we are is afraid. The attachment to being good and worth something paralyzes us.
The solution Seth Godin offers to get unstuck is to do something. If you need to write, then keep writing until the good comes out. If you can’t think of a good idea right now, then come up with as many bad ideas as possible. At that point, we are no longer stuck; we are at least moving. All creatives have experienced writer’s block: public speakers, artists, composers, choreographers, etc.
And I want to argue that this extends past whatever your occupation is and can apply to those times when we feel stuck in life. You know those times once all the boxes have been checked and you feel stagnant. You may find yourself asking,”What’s next?”, and easy to think of all the things you can’t do as the response to that question. I call this the life block because just like writer’s block, fear impedes us at this moment.
Instead, ask yourself, “What could I be doing?” Put fear to on the bench whilst you allow yourself to play with all of the possibilities. Write out all of the things and explore each. What you will find is that a lot of the possibilities extend from this need to learn. Presenting an even better question: What could I be learning? The only way to get unstuck is to move. Where and how you move is up to you. But the best way to move is to learn. Go and see something new. Learning does not need to be school based either; it can take many different forms: travel, take a rec class, start a project, read a book, meet a new friend or reconnect with an old one. You may be surprised with what you learn. For instance if you are taking a pottery class, you know that you will learn how to throw clay on a wheel; but, you may find that you learn something deeper about yourself from the experience. Learning is what will push you forward in your life. It may feel odd and uncomfortable but that is the work. It can also be fun. Embrace it fully.
For this week’s Sunday Slowdown, we will learn to breathe in a new way. It may feel weird but allow your body to experience things in a new way. Tune in at www.facebook.com/jessmkimbrough