Yesterday I listened to a podcast of the TED Radio Hour. It was an episode called “The Creative Process”. The first 12-15 minutes are an interview with Billy Collins, former poet laureate of the United States, and, especially for writers, they are powerfully delicious and wonderful.
|Image via Arizona Public Media – radio.azpm.org|
STEWART: Billy, what do you do on those days when it just doesn’t come to you?
COLLINS: Oh, the – poets do the thing – we’d go to the dry cleaner. I mean, the usual stuff. Well, I wait. I mean, I – there’s this term, writer’s block. I – I don’t believe in it. I don’t like to even hear the term. I mean, you can’t be writing constantly because you’d be insane. So there must be periods of non-writing.
And then it’s just a matter of how do you view them? And I just view them as I’m – I’m waiting. Waiting for something to come along. And I think that’s a kind of healthy way, rather than thinking I’m not writing. That means I’ll never write. [Emphasis Mine]
I love this thinking. It is freeing. It removes a burden. Oh, and it’s true. Waiting is the answer to that thing we call “writer’s block.” Just wait, read, watch, listen, relax, and ease up for a bit. It’ll come to you. And your writing will be better for it. (The only trouble is when you’re writing on a deadline.)
Listen to the whole interview or read the transcript HERE. He offers some wonderful, insightful thoughts for creatives of all sorts, but especially writers.