Shakespeare in Love is another good writer’s block movie. Young Will, as played by Joseph Fiennes, starts out the movie with no inspiration, a fickle girlfriend/muse, and plenty of pressure from the theater owner who depends on Shakespeare’s plays to pay the bills.
To top it off, during his session with an Elizabethan shrink it is revealed that his sexual functioning has suffered recently as well. Fortunately, a cross-dressing Gwyneth Paltrow appears and inspires enthusiasm on both the literary and romantic fronts. The play gets written and the show goes on.
It interests me that many writers, and other artists, have a sense that they communicate with something beyond themselves that is the ground of their creativity. The muse either blesses them or doesn’t – the process is not fully under conscious control.
This state of affairs is both wonderful and awful. It’s wonderful that intriguing and beautiful surprises come forth in our writing, and awful to feel that it could all go away, because it is a source of creativity beyond our ken. The despair that comes from feeling out of touch with one’s creativity is a feature of some writing blocks. A sense of blankness, or of frustration with the quality of what you write, can lead to wanting to avoid the process.
Of course, if you don’t sit down and face your writing situation regularly, you lower the chances dramatically that the muse (whatever that means to you) will arrive. As Cassius said (Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)):
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Writing is a mystery. We can only do our part (showing up), and trust that in time something interesting will happen. How can it not?