Fruition Block: Forget “Should”.
“Writer’s block” comes about when a writer believes they can’t think of anything to write. They have nothing to say, and don’t know how to go about finding something to say. I don’t believe in it, because I feel that by acknowledging it, I give it power. So I just keep writing something, anything, when I have what others would call writer’s block. It tends to go away when I do that.
Yet there is another concept, much more difficult to evade. I call it Fruition Block. I know how utterly pretentious that sounds, but read on. If you’re into any kind of creative endeavor, (writing, music, painting) I’m sure you’ll find that you’re familiar with this concept.
When you suffer from Fruition Block, ideas are not the problem. You have the ideas. They come to you throughout the day, often out of thin air. And because you are a wise creative type, you write these things down somewhere as soon as you think of them, even if it means dashing in your wet nudity out of the shower, soaking everything in your path as you make your way to your idea notebook and jot down your revelation.
Yet when you have Fruition Block, that naked sprint is the most inspired action you ever take on behalf of your idea. After that, it sits ignored in your idea notebook.
Now I don’t mean simply keeping an idea in a queue until you’re prepared to explore it. We can’t explore every idea we have all at once. That would be lunacy. We must organize and prioritize our creative work. Practicality dictates that some ideas have to wait their turn. But if you aren’t exploring a given idea or set of ideas because you don’t think you should, that is Fruition Block.
Fruition Block has a pack of thugs that work for him. The worst one is his tall, thick, shades-wearing, silent personal bodyguard. He is the one that is called in to do the most gruesome harm to rivals. His concealed weapon? A club with “should” carved into it with which he tends to beat creative types senseless.
But only if his underlings fail in their job. You know them too. They each have certain sentiments tattooed on their foreheads. Have you seen any of the following hoods running around in your mind, wreaking havoc? Some of the more common:
“I don’t have the time to explore that fully just now.”
“The concept is too broad. I should sharpen it before I start to work on it.”
“It’s too complicated. I should simplify it.”
“That idea is not appropriate. I shouldn’t go there.”
“It’s too simple. I should deepen it.”
“I don’t have the tools to give that life; somebody more qualified should try.”
“I should study more before I tackle that.”
“It shouldn’t be so similar to other things that are out there.”
“It should be more similar to other things that are out there.”
“I have more important things I should be doing with my time. I’m an adult.”
I’m here to inform you that you have the right to be creative. Nobody can take that away from you, and the only permission you need to explore your ideas is from yourself.
Of course you have responsibilities, and nobody is suggesting your should jettison them. But Fruition Block’s most successful lie is that one cannot be both creative and responsible at the same time in life. But the song that comes to you, the short story idea, the poem…all deserve your consideration and attention at some point. Some ideas may end up not working, but they are at least entitled to your exploration to find out. None of them should rot on the vine simply because you don’t think circumstances are perfect for it. They never will be.
I’m a writer, and yet I still feel this way at times. That I should be writing one thing instead of something else. Or even that I should not be a writer anymore. But I work each day to conquer that feeling, and I hope you do as well. The world could use more art borne out of sincerity, from all of us.