In the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, when Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, informs Dorothy of her power, she isn’t referring to Dorothy’s writing block, but she could have been. Like a struggling writer who’s lost touch with the muse, Dorothy had lost her connection with her home, Kansas.
As we journey toward our OZ’s, we musn’t lose touch with our Kansas’s.
Writing frequently starts out as a grand Yellow Brick Road adventure, but sooner or later the flying monkeys of procrastination, the poppy fields of sloth and torpor, and the green witches of anxiety start plaguing us, trying to prevent us from reaching OZ. Eventually we realize we are confused, lost, hopeless and not in Kansas anymore. And to top it off, if we finally do reach OZ, the Wizard turns out to be something different than we expected.
Glinda is heartily rebuked by the Scarecrow for not telling Dorothy sooner about her power, and Glinda responds, non-defensively, that Dorothy wasn’t ready to hear it earlier and had to learn things for herself. If you have ever tried to tell a blocked writer to have more self-confidence, you know this is very true.
Talent that is obvious to others may be partially or completely concealed from the angst-ridden writer’s awareness. You can point towards it, but at the end of the day a writer remembers their power to go to Kansas in their own time, and frequently only after a good bit bewilderment, frustration, anxiety, wizard disillusionment and bad witch melting.
Nevertheless, it normally doesn’t hurt to, every once in a while, encourage a lost writer (or ourselves) to tap the heels of our red shoes together three times. Right Todo?
There’s no place like writing.