As Shakespeare has it,
“I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchman to my heart.
But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whiles, like a puff’d and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.”
Not, I’m not on my way to Hell, with or without primroses. Instead I’m on the bluebell path (Stanmer Woods, for those who know Sussex) and that means I’m spinning my wheels. Yes, I’m not writing. Apart from playing with my latest commission, a gardening blog for a client, I’ve put myself on hold. I carry my notebook and pens, just in case, but I’ve given myself a few days off. Why? Because I don’t want to write, or can’t write, or force myself and write rubbish. And this is what I believe turns into writer’s block, if you continue to push yourself. Instead I’ve made a list of things to do; visiting bluebells, coffee with friends, reading good books, and that’s what I’m doing.
The reason I can be so calm about this is that it happened last year, and the year before. In 2006 it was February, and in 2005 it was April, but both years I had a period where I wasn’t writing, or where what I was writing was, to be honest, crap. I don’t keep a journal, because I’m suspicious of the energy they soak up, but I do record the number of words I write each day and a one or two word ‘mood’ comment. And looking back allows me to see that this is seasonal and it passes. And so I know this is not Hell, nor am I in it, but simply a phase … and that on the other side of it I will write again with renewed enthusiasm and inspiration.