Finding the Voice // Moving Past Writer's Block

I was suffering acutely from writer’s block. I can’t tell you how many times I would say, “Well, not today, maybe tomorrow.” Or, “I’m too busy and I don’t have the time.” I made excuses. What if I just didn’t know what to say? What if there was nothing to write down? Heritage feels like a long time coming - I’ve been creating recipes and accumulating family stories for decades. I’ve been studying biodynamics and integrative nutrition for just as long. Heritage has wanted to be written for a long time, as though it’s been scripted for generations. And yet sometimes I just can’t get the ball rolling.

So I did what any stuck person would do, I phoned a friend. I called my daughter, Nicola, who listened with compassionate ears and encouraging words, reminding me that everyone goes through this. And then I talked to my husband, who in trying to be helpful, reminded me that I’m not a writer – to which I replied with hurt feelings, something about my 4th grade creative writing assignment where I wrote a story about a ghost and doesn’t that count as being able to call myself a writer. 

I Googled “writer’s block,” signed up for a free webinar (or two, or three, or four!), and phone a few more friends.

One of the most helpful and supportive bits of awareness came in the form of fully recognizing what was going on. Naming what was happening (writer’s block) enabled me to actually takes steps towards working with it - rather than continuing to come up with excuses. 

Beyond the encouraging words (thank you family + friends!), I found a more tactile way to work with this blockage.  I finally found a rhythm with writing, by creating a ceremonial practice that has become an important part of my day.

A dear friend and colleague of mine, Mela, helped me to sink into my new routine. Mela supports many clients with time management, “dejunking,” and getting unstuck. First, she helped me to feel supported and grounded in my space. Too often, I would find distractions - a pile on my desk that I could spend time tidying; or my cellphone, which was often within arm’s reach. In clearing my physical space, using the power of intention, practicing breathing exercises, and keeping a candle lit for inspiration to come through, I’ve been consistently sitting down every day for two hours to WRITE. And I have to say, I’m quite proud of that!

In thinking of each writing session as a ceremony, I honor how special it is that I’m carving out this time and space. It gets harder and harder, I think, in our modern world, to set aside time that feels focused and intentional.

Before going to sleep at night, I connect with my Angels and Guides and ask for their support with creativity, flow and focus.

In the morning, I spend a few minutes listening to that voice that wants to be heard before getting out of bed to start my morning routine.

I’ve learned to allow time for fidgeting. Yup, the beauty of the fidget. It’s where I get to feel organized before starting to write. This could include folding laundry, preparing breakfast, unloading the dishwasher, clearing off my desk, taking a shower, making a cup of tea. The sacred fidget prepares me in the most profound way, in that it brings me into alignment with the creative process.  And what I’ve found is that it gives me a chance to meditate on what’s about to be translated into words.

I keep a bottle of water on my desk and I speak my intentions into it. I also have a cup of warm tea in my favorite mug (thank you, Leigh Fanady!). I light a beeswax candle in my favorite candle holder. There are photos nearby of loved ones and some of my favorite pottery pieces to glance up at for inspiration when I’m feeling stuck. I don’t keep a phone nearby. I also take a dropper full of Hornbeam flower essence (thank you, Robin, my dear friend and talented herbalist, for this insight) and sometimes I use Rooted Angel Trinity Flower Essence for additional assistance from the plant kingdom.

Mela told me something powerful - that time is both linear and non-linear. When I can access the dimension beyond space and time, whilst remembering to stay grounded in the here and now, I’m able to truly feel like a channel. I remember this, and then I write. The writer’s block starts to melt. Sometimes paragraphs and pages don’t quite flow together, or there’s too much to say. Or too little. But I realize that it’s all just right. 

My intention for Heritage is this: I am focused, connected and centered. The writing of Heritage, Celebrating Family Recipes flows freely and effortlessly as I develop the soul of this book. Heritage will serve as a beacon of light for those who navigate the natural elements of life. Heritage is food for the soul – a return journey home.

When you find that you need acute focus, may you too find solace in clearing your space, setting intentions, taking a break from technology, surrounding yourself with sacred & inspiring objects and calling on the help of friends and the plant kingdom.