Protect the garden patch of your sprouting creativity and fertile idea-seeds, writer. Heed Elizabethan poet, Isabella Whitney, when she advises in A Sweet Nosegay;
In any wise, be chary that
thou lettest in no Swine:
No Dog to scrape, nor beast that doth
to raven still incline.
For though he make no spare of them,
to such as have good skill:
To slip, to shear, or get in time,
and not his branches kill:
Yet bars he out, such greedy guts,
as come with spite to toot.
And without skill, both Herb and Flower
pluck rashly by the root.
Extract from A Sweet Nosegay, or Pleasant Posy: Containing a Hundred and Ten Philosophical Flowers (1573)
Socrates: For the poets tell us, don’t they, that the melodies they bring us are gathered from rills that run with honey, out of glens and gardens of the Muses, and they bring them as the bees do honey, flying like the bees? Ion (534a-b)
Writer’s block is frequently discussed as some perverse coupling of procrastination in bed with perfectionism. And The Writer is the rent-by-the-hour dive in which they rendezvous. Writer’s block is often mis-characterised as a flaw or a deficiency with the writer (not the writing, choice of teapot, etc.).
Writers, again and again, describe the experience of writing as an experience of external inspiration, much like historical descriptions of religious revelation. Is block not with writing, not with the writer, not with the unwritten, but with being numb, dumb, blind, bland and deaf to the glens and gardens?