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Musing for Meaning

Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block

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My fear came true. After more than a year of writing my weekly blog, Musing for Meaning, the deadline is looming and I have nothing to say. Zilch. Zippo. Nada.

It is not often that I am accused of being short on words. My problem is actually quite the opposite. My children beg me to stop talking, and I live with insecurity that I all too often overspeak in social situations (make that any situation). I like to talk. A lot. And I have ideas, thoughts and feelings that I like to share. Sue me. Fortunately, I found a job that allows for that (best part about writing is that it is one way . . . I can talk all I want on paper!). And to supplement, I am a professional speaker (ha!). I actually get paid to talk. Dream come true.

I actually get paid to talk. Dream come trueSo, you can see my dilemma as I sit at the computer with no idea what to write about. I finally caved, and posted on my Facebook wall that I had writer’s block and was in desperate need of suggestions. And boy, did they start coming in. Great ones. But they didn’t help. They actually overwhelmed me, and reminded me how many important topics I haven’t written about. But none that I could just write about on the spot.

And then someone posted that I should write about writer’s block. And so, here you go.

What does it mean to have writer’s block? Is it really ever possible that we have nothing to write about? There is an entire world happening around us. So much to learn from. So much to incorporate into our thinking and feeling. Which is where the “block” part comes in. It really is me. There is so much happening around, but I am just not open to it. I am not a vessel. Because I haven’t made the room for ideas to enter in, they can’t then come back out through the pen (or keyboard).

Along with my request for topic suggestions, I got a few great links to ridding oneself of writer’s block. One of them suggested that the way to break through the rut is actually to stop thinking and start experiencing. Change your environment. Let your mind wander. Listen to other perspectives. Be around other creative people. Basically, the way to unblock something is to clean it out, to make room and space for something new.

But then, what exactly is blocking me? Thoughts? Feelings? Fears? Boredom? All of the above? If I am closed, for whatever reason, there will be no output. But even once I let in some room, I need to first fill again before I can give out. And that is a lesson I need to reteach myself over and over again.

I like to do. I like to give. I like to be busy. Because when I am, I don’t have time to really worry or contemplate or think. I don’t need to reevaluate if I don’t stop. I don’t need to wonder if I am spending my time wisely, if I don’t have the time to wonder. But there are times when our mind doesn’t let any more in, because it needs us to think about what is already there.

I like to be busy. Because when I am, I don’t have time to really worry or contemplate or thinkAnd then there are times when there just isn’t anything to say . . . yet. It ebbs and flows. I have written a few articles in a week, when I couldn’t even process without that outlet of writing, and then weeks go by and I don’t seem to get out a word. So far, I have balanced the timetable so that it didn’t pressure me like it is now. But it eventually caught up. Deadline. No article. Stress.

So, I am not going to allow myself to stress. I am going to allow myself to recognize that I need to take some time to think through what I think. To think through what I feel. And to think through before I say something just for the sake of saying it.

This writer’s block has been quite helpful in making me stop. And I have no doubt that many of the pieces to come will be a result of not being able to write one now. But wait . . . then what is this? Hmmm, a piece about the merits of having nothing to write. Definitely my speed. Even when I have nothing to say, I manage to take 742 words to express it!


Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the co-director of Interinclusion, a nonprofit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org, and wrote the popular weekly blog Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Harry Pearle Rochester February 21, 2013

I just got a most wonderful 9 (nine) word email: THANKS HARRY! WE NEED PEOPLE LIKE YOU IN EDUCATION. This I got in response to my email concerning the health of Joe. Is seems to me that what Joe said in 9 words tops many of my own long-winded emails. I plan to refer to this blessing, over and over and share it with others. Reply

Anonymous CR February 17, 2013

When I get writers block my blog tends to the repetitive. Reply

Ammi February 17, 2013

I think this article is superb - why? Because it is spontaneous and witty, thoughtful and thought-provoking. And, it so reminds me of myself. No outline needed. No theme attached - just a good hearted article. Too many think they need everything "in the box". "Out of the box" is where the "real" is. Thanks! Reply

Paulina Honolulu, HI February 16, 2013

...Meaning I am the Blockhead, that is! I think you were channeling my thoughts, Sar! Thank you for such a great, great article! I hope to spew out some words on paper and follow in your awesome footsteps one day!
Mahalo <3 Reply

Anonymous Flemington, NJ February 14, 2013

Dear Sarah Esther,
While I appreciate the candor of your article, in my humble opinion, it could have benefited from a thesis statement and being more concise. I believe what you were trying to convey is that ChaBaD principle could be applied to our daily activities, including writing; namely once you have an idea (chochma), you need to contemplate on it (binah), and then digest and internalize it (daat). Only then you can optimally act on it – in your case write an article. If this indeed is the thesis of your article, in my opinion, an average reader would have benefited by being presented with it.
Thank You for your consideration. Reply

Anonymous February 14, 2013

Very cute:) well written Reply

anonymous ottawa February 13, 2013

Writing is preverse for me. I don't mean that in some deviant way. When I want to avoid my life, I write. When I want to avoid writing, I live my life. Or let me put it this way, when I make a committment to write about ANY topic, I just can't. When I'm supposed to be doing something else, that's when the writing just flows. So I can't even be jealous that you get paid to write, because I'd get fired from that job.
I guess my question to you would be, a) what is the topic, and b) what's been going on in the last week or two of your life? Maybe there's a hint in there somewhere? Reply

Rebecca Klempner Los Angeles February 13, 2013

I also rarely have writer's block, but when I do, it almost always involves a deadline. I think you handled it well. My first step is almost always panic. (My next step is better--daven. A lot more effective.)

Once, I wrote something that was dreck because I was uninspired. Truly, so bad. Just writing to get it done (motivated by a fear of deadline). The moment of inspiration came when I revised. HaShem put the right spin in my head. It turned out much, much better. Reply

Danny masri Modiin February 13, 2013

Guaranteed or your money back........Grab your Lap Top. Hop on your stationary exercise Bicycle. (Life Fitness Model preferred). 12 minutes into pedaling what appears to no where....you will enter a space and time that certainly parallel Gan Eden in feeling and expression.What is your signal... the first drops of sweat reaching the floor.Your fingers will be moving at light speed. The typed illustrated expression will amaze you.P.s- A "simple" letter to Ma or Pa using this approach will enhance your love and respect in words that come from the heavens.The Benefits far exceed the "cost".And ya will get "fit" along the way. Endorphins are certainly a gift from God. Reply

Maya February 12, 2013

That was a great article!!! And I laughed out loud at the ending! Loved it! Reply

Aviva Siegel February 12, 2013

Sara, Think it is Hashems way of letting you know a little time away from writing might be the order now. Donot fret ....I for one will be awaiting your return, as I try to download all your articles ! May you be blessed with a long life and to continue what you enjoy most... Reply

Anonymous USA February 12, 2013

Good article to help someone to write, just anything. I like to write among other things. I am not an editor, professional writer, nor scholar. I just like to write. But among other things I like to do, like painting for example, I need to be inspired. What gives me the inspiration? watching children play, bird watching, park activities, or even childhood mischievous experiences. Even writing about an awkwarness in a sentence. How about that? Ha! Thank you Sara Esther for inspiring me. Reply

Michele Francis USA February 12, 2013

Thank you so very much for sharing Sara. I have it....writers block! It has been nine months since I announced to my facebook friends that I would begin to write the first of three books. I just have too many things going on in my head. If I could only focus. I have considered going on a retreat or get-away this spring. I appreciate your blog's, and the articles by all of my Jewish Sisters as well. We are blessed to have the inspiration from "The Jewish Woman.org." Thanks for the reminder, as nothing happens by coincidence. Much love, Shelli Reply

Sarah Rivka :) Cincinnati, OH February 12, 2013

This is hilarious! :) I personally can't stand having to write by a deadline. I write when I feel like it, I don't write when I don't feel like it. But I supposed if I want to make a career out of writing I'm going to have to learn to deal with deadlines. Thanks so much for sharing! :) Reply

Anonymous Foley, Ala. February 12, 2013

I really enjoyed your article! I'm going through the same thing. It's nice to know I'm not going through it alone. Thank you Reply

Every situation we find ourselves in is a lesson waiting to be learned. That is what this blog is about. From the people I meet, the places I go and the experiences I have, stories emerge, each teaching me something that I hope you will find useful for your life as well.
Sara Esther CrispeSara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the co-director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org, and wrote the popular weekly blog Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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