Dealing With (Road) Blocks

Writers often experience the infamous writers´block, which is perfectly understandable, and almost expected. I would be very skeptical if an author told me that they had never experience such a thing. That, my dear reader, is impossible. We all experience some sort of blockage due to emotional or psychological stress or trauma. Sometimes it is a case of burn out, doing too much at the same time, preventing you from digging deep into your soul to find the passion and inspiration.

Overtaken by darkness ©MTHerzog

One of the best tools I have to avoid writer´s block, though believe me, I am not immune to it, is blogging. The discipline of finding a topic to write about at least three times a week (I gave up on daily blogs) is not insurmountable, and keeps me on my toes. A blog, unlike a journal, is structured, the message has to be comprehensible to an international audience, and above all, digestible. It is supposed to be concise and focused, and as many blogging gurus claim, you should not spend longer than 30 minutes writing it.
Bullshit.
Some claim 20 minutes a day are sufficient for a blog.
More bullshit.
I cannot, for the life of me, conform to that. I need time, patience, and inner peace to do so, even if the topic is tumultuous. Then there is the fact that I often write at 4:30am, before getting ready for work. On the weekends I am sometimes inspired and can whip up two or even three entries, which I pre-schedule on different days.

Another block, and more troublesome to overcome, is the photographer´s block. Unlike the blog, where I can sit down and face an empty page and eventually allow my thoughts to meander onto it, when I do not experience any connection with my camera, I am stuck and the resulting photographs are absolute rubbish.

Those who follow me on Instagram or my photography website will have noticed that I have spent the last few months re-editing items from my archives. This is not a bad thing, mind you, because it I learn from my mistakes, but I have not had that motivating spark to do something outstanding with my camera. And I miss that.

Perhaps it is because I haven’t travelled or been on holiday in over a year, or maybe because I miss being on the go with a photo buddy, I can’t pinpoint the real reason. All I know that all the changes that I have undergone in the past two years have led me to question many things about life in general and seek new approaches to existing interest. Photography for me has always been intimately linked to prayer, and that is probably another reason for a blockage – unanswered prayers, desperation, and the yearning for peace.

Frustration, anger, and skepticism are mortal enemies of good and balanced photography, although I must admit, are brilliant framework conditions for writing crime stories! Writing is never an issue because I can vent, however, it is excruciatingly difficult to find balance and depth in order to project a soul in a photograph when I don’t know what I want or cannot see it properly. The best equipment in the world or the perfect techniques won’t help if the inner lens cannot focus. What good will it do me to end up with a technically perfect but soulless photograph?

Not all is lost.

Every morning, on my way to the work I have disciplined myself to capture whatever comes my way with my phone. Yes, yes, I know, it is not the same and the quality is nowhere near that of a camera, but I have to think of my shoulders! So when I ran into the stranger in the light or my neighbour overtook me on the way to the bus stop, I managed to a snap or two. My cats are cooperative albeit passive models who have learned to accept a phone in their face, but I notice my blockage most of all when trying to do street photography. Perhaps this Easter weekend will witness the Resurrection.

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