Of Farm Fields and Writers Block

The latest update of WordPress has caused two major problems. Until some extra code is placed in the proper config file (whatever that is), I can’t post any photos. And they don’t seem to be in a great hurry to fix the problem, either. Not the world’s best news for a blog that is based on photos, is it? Especially since I’m a self-styled techno-dummy and don’t even understand what I’m talking about here.

They also left out the code that lets one post links to other sites. The photo problem is fixable if you’re a computer whiz, but so far no one seems to an answer to the link problem. We’ll have to do it the old way: copy and paste into a new window in our browser instead of executing a simple mouse click. Sigh…

So, until I can con my computer guru son (who’s still working off in trade the ten grand he drank in orange juice while growing up) into inserting tab “Code A” into slot “Config B” so I can at least get back to photos, I’m stuck with only words. Oh, what a tragedy for a writer.  ; )

But today, while I was driving into town to meet a friend, I had a thought that doesn’t necessarily need a photo (though an illustrative one would be nice…). I was driving down a long, lovely country lane. Newly plowed fields of dark, rich earth stretched out on both sides of the road. The deep mahogany soil made the leaves of both trees and bushes glow. The air shimmered with a clean, refreshing light. These fields had lain fallow yesterday, covered with an unruly mob of drab, dissonant weeds. Today those weeds had been plowed under to enrich the moist chocolate soil that now lay ready to accept seed and nourish fledgling plants into the joy of maturity.

And I thought: Writer’s block. Not that ephemeral kind that lasts a mere day or two, but the long-term, four month/six month/twelve month or longer period of devastating desert dryness. That writer’s block, I thought, is like a fallow field, a dull blank expanse that lies inert, capturing the detritus of thought and dream and experience. In the fullness of time our imagination plows under what seems useless. Inspiration then waters the newly plowed field. Then the seed of plot and situation, or perhaps character, is winnowed from the chaff and planted in the deep rich soil to be nourished by plowed-under scraps of life until a new story sprouts, grows and comes into fruition.

Writers are not machines that can work on and on, never resting. Without a fallow period, the genius of writing cannot sprout, for it has no nourishment on which to feed.

So how can a writer survive the dry desert of writer’s block?

Don’t fear it. Never fear it. Fear is what keeps the block strong and arid. Fear is what stops the plowing under. Instead, celebrate writer’s block when it arrives, as it will for all of us at least once in our writing life. Use the fallow time to live, to love, to experience. Soon it will all be plowed under, giving nourishment to another round of the genius of creation: stories richer and more compelling than any you’ve crafted before.

About Susan Tuttle

Susan Tuttle is a professional freelance editor, writing instructor and award winning author of 12 books—6 nonfiction on writing (Write It Right), 5 suspense novels and one collection of award-winnign short stories. She also has stories in both volumes of "Deadlines", the new anthology from the Central Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime (SinC), She is currently working on volume #1 of her Skylark P.I. series (a PI with paranormal abilities), as well as 2 YA fantasy series. Follow her on Twitter and FaceBook.