Writer’s Block through Active and Passive Voices in the Head

The writer’s brain had been left alone for a while. So had his pen. His table was left all messy and dust had gathered on his notebooks. The blinds were drawn in his room every dull morning for days on end. Rust had gathered on all objects on the table from the nib of the pen to the new pins that had been clean and shiny all these years. His computer had been left in a dark recess and the chair had had so many clothes dumped on it that no one but an exceptionally resourceful person would suspect that there was an object meant to be sat on underneath.

The idea had been posited that this writer’s days were over. Great reviews and accolades were things of the past never to be seen again by the erstwhile swooning audience. It was being said that the the melody of his rhymes, the sharpness of his satire, the catchiness of his jingles had failed to impress too many times in the recent past.

The person who had posited this idea was  intimately known by (to) the writer.

The writer knew the person who had posited this idea intimately.

In fact, the writer knew him too closely for comfort.

This person was none other than the writer himself.

Writer's block
Writer’s block (Photo credit: Incessant Flux) Picture via Zemanta

Then one day the writer thought that it was time to pay attention to the dissenting voices in his head. It was time to take responsibility for his own actions. It was time to take charge and bring changes to his passive life.

It was time to recognize that the agent responsible for this situation was the writer himself.

Writer’s block would not go away on its own.

So the writer decided to re-write the first paragraph of this account of his writer’s block for his own benefit:

The writer had left his brain alone for a while. He had also abandoned his pen. He had left his table all messy and had let his notebook gather dust. He had drawn his blinds in the mornings for days on end to hide in the darkness. He had let the useful objects on his table become rusty from the nibs of his pens to the shiny new pins. He had left his computer in the dark recess and had dumped all his used clothes on the chair to the point that no one would suspect there was something to sit on in front of the computer.

Perhaps he had done this deliberately. He had made it too difficult to sit at the keyboard so that responsibility for his impotent life would be shifted from him to the messiness of his existence.

No. Who was he kidding? He was being crafty hiding the agent of the action again.

He had shifted responsibility from himself to this mess so he didn’t have to write.

Someone had told this writer that writing is a very material, not an ideal process. He knew that the voices in the head needed to be listened to actively by writers sitting at the keyboard before ideas could be typed.

Writers needed to listen to voices in their heads actively while sitting at their keyboards even if it took hours for ideas to come. They needed to train themselves to perform the material act of sitting and trying in order to perform the non-material task of writing.

The muse only answered when called upon. So writers needed to actively seek their muses rather than be passively seeked by them.

Now that the writer recognized this, he knew that the audience would see great reviews and accolades again. He would impress them with the melody of his rhymes,the sharpness of his satire and the catchiness of his jingles once again.

Note: I thought I’d have some fun with the Weekly Writing Challenge: Listen to the Voices in your Head on using active and passive voice. I was helped along by Elijah Cain and Daryl Houston‘s post also mentioned on the first blog. You’ll notice that I tried to weave in some of their pointers regarding the use of active and passive voice without being explicit.

27 thoughts on “Writer’s Block through Active and Passive Voices in the Head”

  1. Thanks for liking me…… I like you, too! Good post today, now I am caught up in reading your older ones. The one on dinner and a movie alone……. well, if we all wait around for someone to go with, we’d never see anything, would we? Good posts!


  2. I enjoyed the turn from passive to reflective to active as the writer begins to own his responsibility for the dark mess he’s in. Great way to reflect the void of writer’s block and the transition from believing “it’s not me, it’s you” to knowing “it’s not you, it’s me.”


  3. Very nicely written – an interesting exercise to write in two voices and actually makes me feel kind of guilty, because I often think passively about (not) writing when it is my own fault for not being active about it!


  4. I had been overwhelmed by the brilliance of this post. Imagination had been iced in the presence of such an interesting twist. Rejoice, however, I am an active agent in my creative persona.


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