What happens when you suffer what is known as writers’ block?
This is where for some or other reason you either can’t find something to write about or you simply keep hitting a dead-end every time you attempt to produce something. For me this used to be particularly problematic, until I accepted that I simply cannot write on demand. There has to be something that resonates deep within me in order for me to connect with that sometimes sacred space. Recently, for example, I went through several months where I had several pieces of unfinished writing and simply had nothing to put down. I decided just to take a break and allow the natural process to take over. If my writing abilities were like a light switch, then I was experiencing severe load shedding. I kept going back to read some of my unfinished work in the hope that it would spark something, but alas nothing.
One morning, in late 2018, I woke up and a short story literally came from one of my dreams. It’s important to point out, at this juncture, that I can have several dreams in one night and barely remember any of them in the morning, but every now and then I have a dream that is so vivid that I can describe it almost to its last detail. That dream gave birth to the short story Shadows Of A Ghost Town. It was both vivid and disturbing. It was the kind of dream that unsettles you so much that you wake up with your heart pounding.
After several sessions, I had completed the first draft. It would appear that the secret ingredient in short stories has a longer shelf life for me. There appears to be a wider window period that allows me just enough time to record the story before it begins to fade. The Witch’s Hour came to me in the same way and (for reasons I’m yet to fully understand) has been the most popular short story I have published on the Fundza platform.
Tell us: Why do you think writer’s block happens?