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On Writer’s Block and Going Full Munificent


By Christine Carron

Today, I looked up writer’s block and found advice proclaiming ten, fifteen, twenty-four, even twenty-seven surefire ways to crush(!), beat(!), pulverize(!), kick-in-the-ass(!) writing block forever! (!!!) (!!!!!!) (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Such violent verbs. Such exclamation point profusion. (Granted, I added those to make the point.)

Enough already with the normalization that we must be at war with ourselves to write. Choosing to write does not mean we must choose inner flagellation, condemnation, or brutishness when the writing does not go as we hoped. Or when we have a dry spell. Or even when our own writerly process diverges from some famous writer’s process. There is no one way to be a writer. There is, however, an ideal way.

The ideal way to be a writer: Be you and write.

Which is lovely and affirming, but most humans are action-oriented. We want something to do to solve the perceived problem, for goodness’ sake. Plus, it is easier to replace a habit that isn’t serving us than to simply abstain from the habit. And let’s be clear, this harsh way of dealing with writing challenges is nothing more than a habit we’ve been (unfortunately) acculturated to.

So here’s what I’ve got for you—the Goodjelly action plan to address what is commonly called writer’s block: Go Full Munificent on yourself.

Munificent? Yeah, I had to do some research to find that word. It means unusual generosity. Let’s even say radical generosity. I could have gone with straight-up generosity, but when we’re taking a stand against a cultural norm, we need some extra oomph, some extra gumption. Hence, not just generosity, but unusually radical generosity, a.k.a., Going Full Munificent.

What does Going Full Munificent entail?

  1. Curiosity. Be curious about what is getting in the way of your writing. Follow the thread at the moment to what might be the cause. This is not about navel gazing; this is about getting data. Data to understand you. To understand your you-story.
  2. Kindness. We are not monolithic wholes. At any given moment, we may have a part who wants to write, one who wants to relax, one who is confident, and one who is terrified. We are taught to silence parts of ourselves by our family training, our cultural training, our gender training, etc. Try something different: Kindly make space for all the parts of you.
  3. Presence. Once you allow those different parts to surface, be present with them. Don’t try to solve them. Or fix them. Just radiate—no, sunbeam—love all over them. Sunbeam the love no matter how gnarly, scary, shameful they might seem to other parts of you. There is a You greater than any of your parts. That You is in charge of this radical generosity business.  
  4. Guided Action. From this place of curiosity-kindness-presence, the You-you will guide your next writerly action. Trust that. It may take a while, but a guided action—one perfectly attuned to Your truth (instead of one imposed on you by some writerly norm)—will come.

What will that action look like? I don’t know.

Perhaps your next guided action will indeed be to put your butt in the chair and write. But most likely the “butt in chair” directive will no longer feel punitive like it does when you force that action without the curiosity-kindness-presence steps.

Here’s the thing, though. On any given day, your next guided action might take you out on a walk, or into the garden, or to your comfy chair to read a book, or into some game time with your sweet pup, or running sprints, or who knows what. Be courageous and follow the guided action no matter how counter-intuitive it feels. Trust that if you give yourself the space to let You speak to you, You will bring yourself back to the page. To write with deeper inspiration, commitment, and abandon.

Welcome to the wild side.

The Goodjelly Prompt of the Week

  1. Practice Going Full Munificent on yourself for one week and note how you experience your writing and your writerly journey during that week. Continue if it helps. Discard if not.

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