Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Werewolf Principle- Part Five of Five, Returning to Reality and the Truth About Writer's Block

What's going through your mind?

Action, romance dialogue.  Danger, mystery, intrigue. Love, lust, larceny.

Wait- you're really just sitting in front of a keyboard, aren't you?  You've transformed.  You've immersed.  You've lost track of reality.  You were writing.  The fire alarm could have gone off, smoke could filter into your room and you'd cough and gag while your eyes started to burn, but you'd stay there so you could finish that scene, wouldn't you?  Just a few more lines and you'll be done...

Returning to reality after immersive writing is the problem.

It's the same problem a werewolf is faced with when it returns to humanity.

The argument is that we can, in one sense, be nothing other than what we are.  That there are different sides or "faces" to us.  Returning war veterans know this all too well.  Is a soldier that kills their enemy the same person they were before they lifted their weapon or when they return to home and work next to you in the office?

They have the same body, the same face and the same brain.

Or do they?

Consider someone who has had a near-death experience on the operating table.  They, too, have the same body, the same face and the same brain.

Or do they?

In one sense, they have.  In that physical, evidentiary sense, they are the same person.

But their experience has changed them.  They have done or seen something which radically changed their identity.  Our sense of identity is not so easy to categorize.  We are in a way not yet scientifically validatable, different people after such experiences.

To enter the imaginary world of our own fiction (the same occurs to a lesser degree when we are immersed as readers), we must change ourselves.  The gate-keeper between the world of imagination and reality will not allow us to step through from this world into the world of creative fiction as we are, we must transform to be admitted.  When we return, we, too, our changed.

We change our consciousness to write.  We must change back in order to return.

In the late 18th and 19th centuries, enterprising paranormal investigators pursued the art of astral projection. They claimed in their journals that their consciousness actually left their body and was able to travel through walls, journey around the world and see things and situations no one had ever seen before.  Kind of like what writers go through every day.

When astral projectors returned to their body, they felt a snapping sensation and usually heard an audible click.  If only it was so easy for writers.

Sometimes we return and we feel like we've just woken up after a long sleep.  Sometimes we jump up from our chairs energized by that last scene where we just finished saving humanity.  If someone else sees us, they surely know we've been in virtual reality trance or sometimes think we've lost our mind.

If you think of it, though, this return is the evidence that we've been "gone." That we transformed and are just returning to who we were before we immersed in our writing.  It's easy for others to see.

Maybe we should think about how to control this necessary change.  I't's more important than you think.  We might consider how to consciously initiate and end it, instead of pretending we don't know what's going on.


Because it is the secret to beating writer's block.  Writer's block occurs when you can't transform.  That's all it is, plain and simple.  We take our immersive transformations into writers for grant, and because of this attitude we never study the phenomena closely enough to master it.

Writer's block is the inability to immerse, to transform into the creative state.  It afflicts us because we assume that we can change whenever we want to, but this naivete is our undoing as writers.

Study the werewolf principles, learn the techniques to control the transformation, and you'll never, ever experience writer's block.


Kate Sterling said...

Good stuff, Rick. I'm liking these - they are quite timely for me at the moment as well.

Rick said...

I'm glad, Kate. Odd to think there's a lot we can learn from werewolves!

Charles Gramlich said...

Good point. I never really thought of it that way. But if the brain is changed, the person is changed.

Rick said...

Charles, I think you're right. When the brain changes, we are changed forever.