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  • Writer's pictureAnne Heffron

GUEST POST BY BRAD EWELL ON WRITER'S BLOCK AND THE PRICE OF THE TICKET



Photo by Brad Ewell

He wrote, It's the dawn of a new day and really a new life.



On Tuesday in our weekly group writing class, Anne talked about how she’d had, for a lack of a better word, writer's block after the death of her adoptive dad. I’ve experienced writer's block myself and it can come in many forms: unclear thoughts, doubts about my writing and why anyone would want to read it, being annoyed with my own voice in my head, etc. As I sat there listening to Anne talk, I wondered what the experience would be like as she was experiencing it. When my adoptive dad passed away I was driven to write, some of this may have been because it had only been about a year after my adoption discovery but still her block made sense to me. Barely 36 hours later my own adoptive mom passed away. I’ve been processing the grief for a while as she progressed into the later stages of Alzheimer’s, so while there’s sadness it’s not near as intense as a sudden unexpected death.  

The day after my mom passed I began having a flood of writing ideas related to adoption.  I’d been struggling with my own writer's block for about 7 months now. I didn’t understand where it came from and had simply given up trying to figure it out and moved on to hoping it resolve sometime soon. Now it was gone and I was thrilled but still curious what happened.  

While I was writing this I looked up at my bookshelf and saw James Baldwin’s book The Price of the Ticket, and it hit me this has been my writer's block. The price of the ticket to ride the slow grief and care train I’ve been on was my writing. I couldn’t delve deep into my feelings on my own late discovery adoption while I was also grieving and caring for my mom. That was just more than my soul and brain could manage. So my brain did its job and protected me and blocked the ability to dig around in my own adoption for this season of life. 

All of this to say, be good to yourself. If you're struggling with your writing, don’t beat yourself up: get curious about the why. There may be a great reason even if you can’t figure it out in the moment. When you ride that season out you may find out like I did that the ideas didn’t really go away. They were just being filed away until it was time to write again.  

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1 Comment


louisebrowne913
Jun 24

I really like this. I think this is actually very telling of why we may be blocked. Thank you for sharing this.

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