The following is a guest post I wrote for author Marie Bilodeau’s blog. She wanted to know about my experiences with writers blog in relation to my Multiple Sclerosis. She’s been kind enough to let me repost it but you can see the original post here:
I’ve never had a problem with writer’s block.
Sure, I had the odd time when a story or a character was being stubborn, but I’ve always been able to write. I’ve written over tons of books and I was always writing something. There was always a story to tell, always words pouring out.
In January 2013, that all changed. I got sick with what was eventually diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis. I didn’t write anything for almost a month. When I started to get better, I found I couldn’t write.
I would sit at the computer and stare at it. When I put my fingers to the keyboard, I couldn’t get my fingers to hit the right keys. I was stuck. It was as if there was a wall in front of me that I couldn’t see through.
It was the biggest case of writers block that I’d ever experienced. There were all these words inside my head, all these stories waiting to be told. No mater how hard I tried to force them out, they wouldn’t come and I couldn’t get past the wall that was my head.
I’m a writer. Writing is what I do, the air I breathe, the elixir of life. I needed to find a way to write again, I had to.
I decided to try my hand at poetry. I thought that if artists could do performance art that was silent, perhaps I could write something that would use very few words and still hold meaning for me.
I could only type a handful of words at a time – they were all that was allowed past the wall. I figured that I could string enough of them together to make a poem. I could tell stories again; maybe not the types of stories I used to tell, but I would be writing something. That was enough.
It was slow going at first. The first poem I wrote took me a few days to write, but I got it written. I can’t describe what it was like to write that first poem except that it gave me a joy I had never experienced. I was writing again. It didn’t matter that it was only a handful of words at a time. I was writing and that was enough.
It took a while, but as I continued writing my poems, my typing became more precise. I was able to write whole poems instead of a handful of words. They may have taken hours instead of minutes to write, but the words meant more to me; though there were few of them compared to what I normally wrote, they had more depth.
The poems were made from the pieces of the wall, pebbles and stones holding consonants and vowels. As I continued to write poetry, the stones were all used up and the wall came down. I had found a way past the wall. I’ve never been able to regain the speed I used to write at, but the writer’s block had lifted, the wall was gone.
By April, I was able to start working on the novel that I had been working on before the MS hit. I continued with another novel and am now working on another. However, more and more, I’m turning to writing poetry.
They gave me a voice when I didn’t have one and for that I will be eternally grateful.