I’ll be the first to say it: I don’t have a lot of people in my life. We writers — heads low, fingers poised over the keyboard, eyes watching (if we’re lucky) all those words skitter across the screen — are usually a quiet bunch. More often than not, our days are spent in silence creating other worlds because that’s what our work demands. Friends, conversation, interaction? For me, it’s often done via email and text. And that’s just how it is.
Again, it’s the nature of the work we do.
So what happens when that work fails you? When the words don’t come? When that silent world you so rely on retreats into shadow?
What happens when you have to look up from your keyboard?
Now, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit this because I have an article published about how to handle this and, because of that, am supposed to be some sort of “expert.” (I’m not) But there I was, the words gone, the sentences resisting, the stories refusing to leave the safety of being single sentence concepts. My doubts about my talent and future and career growing with each passing minute, hour, day, week…month. And having tried every dang trick in the book (see link above) to snap the cycle, I was still at a loss.
So I did something I never do: I reached out.
Yeah, I reached out. To my publisher. To my teeny-tiny circle of real life friends (I can count them on one hand). My entertainment attorney. Even to other writers I know only via social media.
I reached out and said “help”
Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Heck, people do it all the time. But I’m not “people” and that’s something I rarely, if ever, do. Like most in my business, I’m self-sustaining and used to pulling myself up by my own boot straps. To show doubt is to show weakness. And in those choppy Hollywood waters, that’s akin to planting your butt in the middle of the buffet table next to the carving knife.
So to do this took chutzpah, it took courage, it took a willingness to admit that, Hey, I’m at a loss and I’m not sure I have the strength to do what I need to do. Doing this took a small, but necessary, admittance of defeat.
And it made all the difference.
How so? Because I reached out and others reached back. They reached back! I know, right? They — well, most of them, anyway — met me in the middle. Showed me I wasn’t alone. Showed me I was cared about and, in some way, mattered. That my work, my words, still mattered.
Point is, when everything else fails, when all those tips and tricks come up short and you’re still left stranded on Writer’s Block Island (also known as Hell Adjacent), reach out.
Just reach out. The answer may be there. Or maybe not. But at least you’ll be reminded that you’re not alone, that people care and, heck, sometimes that small touch of humanity is all you need.
Writing alone doesn’t mean you have to BE alone.
So, reach out.