In recent weeks I lost it. That yen to write, revise, or theorize went out the window and into the gutter. Several things brought this about and so, you see, I know the sources. If I knew them, why couldn’t I just jump over them and get with it, you ask? The sources of my freeze-up were devastating one-by-one but, in combination, they were deadly. It all resulted in what blogger Linda Formicelli (The Renegade Writer) calls “analysis-paralysis.”

What a great term that is! The more I tried to talk myself out of the condition, the more paralyzed I became. And more mis-speaks, typos and avoidances grew in number and volume until I wrote not at all. No journaling where I might have worked through the problem, little facebooking, no work on my latest editing task, and no blog.

Deserting the blog made me feel guilty, but not enough to put me back to work. It has taken me until now to see my way clear to connect with you again. I knew I wanted to write about this pervasive form of writer’s block. I’d come to blocks before in my fiction writing or in my social work report writing, but I’d never been so totally blocked. I forced myself to try to write but it just wouldn’t flow and so I set it aside once again.

My editor proposed a major (to me) re-structuring of my novel, Huachuca Woman, that had me gnawing on a subconscious bone for two weeks. Finally, the light bulb of resolution came on and stayed on. I dedicated Easter weekend to revision and got the work done to great satisfaction. I also made a list of twelve questions to put to my editor for our meeting last Thursday. That session was very powerful in re-charging my writing batteries. That’s when I tried the aborted blog entry.

This past Sunday afternoon I attended *Marlene Cullen’s session on Writing and Art Collage and found doors and windows opening to my imagination. The first two hours were spent writing of life issues and a little sharing. Mostly, this was private writing, not given to sharing. The last two hours were dedicated to collage and what a wealth of material Marlene provided! My collage evolved in unexpected ways, showing the evolution of womanhood from the little girl sitting in a hammock with her doll to the myriad choices open to her. Perfect lines jumped up from a magazine: “Life isn’t about finding yourself; Life is about creating yourself” (anonymous) and “Dreams fulfilled…Exploring, challenging, learning.” (anon)

The next day, I started a contemporary love story of middle age. It came, in part, from personal experience and from a recent dream. My critique group loved it…but could still offer up suggestions and corrections. It was wonderful to have the words flow again. They also said I should do more art collage.

Here I am today, back on track and telling you of my bout with “analysis-paralysis” and how I got out of it.

*Marlene has many irons in her fire of help to writers. Check her out at www.thewritespot.us

What do you do when your creativity takes a dive?

 Have you ever been so totally blocked as I described?


Filed under Opinion, Writing

12 responses to ““ANALYSIS-PARALYSIS”

  1. It’s interesting how the collage connected you with writing again. I notice that photographs sometimes help me. I think it’s because we’re allowing our minds to get some help with an image.

  2. Oh, Arletta, this is beautifully written. Welcome back to your eloquent-self!

  3. Thank you, Marlene!
    It was a hard row to hoe but you helped me along the way.

  4. I use an essential oil blend called Crown on my scalp and a blend called Peaceful on the soles of my feet to relax my nerves and promote deeper sleep. It may sound crazy, but it seems to release the bound-up stress in my body and mind and I wake up ready to write. I rediscovered these oils after a long dry spell. I’m not sure if it’s a placebo, but I think not.

    Your essay is lovely.

  5. Hi Anne,
    Placebo or not, what a lovely way to dispense with angst and then to wake up ready to write is an awesome result.
    Thanks for visiting.

  6. Fantastic post, Arletta! Thanks for sharing it.
    I know I’ve been in that “paralysis” mode.

  7. I’m so glad you liked the post, Robin. It was fun to put together.

  8. Have I missed another blog post from you Arletta? I am missing your muse. Was there one since 05/05/11?

  9. Hi Robin,
    You haven’t missed a blog entry from me…I hope to get back on track shortly though I’ll be traveling for the next 3-4 weeks, possibly to the Huachuacas.
    Thank you for keeping after me.

  10. Analysis paralysis, indeed. I loved your collage suggestion, and use that myself to get the creative juices flowing. Thanks for your very personable, readable blog.

  11. Hi Jo,
    Welcome to my blog and thank you for the many kind comments.
    I did another collage workshop recently and found it inspiring. A quote and the colors and pictures to express it fell into place.
    I haven’t done a collage on my own, I like the guided writing prompts and being with a group but would consider a solo event which I gather is what you do???

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