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Want to worsen your writer’s block? Have expectations.

I don’t think many of us need lessons in how to block ourselves.  It’s pretty easy.

But have expectations can block us.

I wrote poetry often until I had a quantum jump in the numinous quality of the poems.  When I had a public reading , people asked me to repeat these poems.  The audience was angry I wasn’t selling a chapbook with these poems in them.

Then I began expecting these poems although they had been produced by surrendering to a creative spirit, the Muse, that takes me over and consumes  me during these experiences.  It is astonishingly exhausting and I can see how drinking whiskey helped me reach this state.  (The alcohol would have killed me before I turned 30)

The first play was similar.

The novel is half-and half.  But if my experience is shared, I now see why many American writers have killed themselves after they had their first success. Thomas Heggen wrote Mister Roberts, a bestseller turned in a Broadway smash and a extremely popular movie that won a fistful of Oscars.

From Wikipedia: “Bewildered by the fame he had longed for, and under pressure to turn out another bestseller, he found himself with a crippling case of writer’s block. “I don’t know how I wrote Mister Roberts,” he admitted to a friend. “It was spirit writing”. He became an insomniac and tried to cure it with increasing amounts of alcohol and prescription drugs.”

He drowned in his bathtub have taken an overdose of pills.

Ross Lockridge, Jr,  the author successful novel,  Raintree County killed himself right after he published the novel and got excellent reviews.

I wonder how many writers have ended their lives– or stopped writing altogether because they could not stand the pressure to write a novel that was as good.

Even if I expect to write 10 pages each day, if I don’t I run the risk of beating myself up which drags me down further and further.

The only way I know to defeat expectations is to think through the whole concept of “expectations” and ditch them and/or stay totally in the present and accept that we have little control over anything in life.

 

 

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