Thank you so much for being here. Now, your energy is awesome, it's very enthusiastic, I'm feeling it already. And I'm so happy because today I get to be the messenger of what is clearly the most exciting, exhilarating, uplifting topic, (audience laughs) that you could ever choose. (audience laughs) Now, I know there's a spoiler right here, (audience laughs) about what we're talking about today. But of course we're talking about writer's block today, which, in honesty is not the most exciting topic, it's not the most uplifting, because why? We're talking about things that are our stuckness. We're talking about things that make us feel uncomfortable. We're talking about not being able to do the writing work that we want to do. This is not set up to be a very magical conversation. However, I'm so excited to be here with you guys, because I get really excited to talk about writer's block. I know, it's kind of weird, I'm a little bit strange in that way. Talking about writer's block, talki...
ng about the things that make you feel uncomfortable really excites me. Because why? Well, when it comes to writing, as you can see this brilliant quote over here on the wall, attributed to me. (audience laughs) It's funny how that works out. (audience laughs) Writing is always a reflection of the writer. As a teacher of writing, I actually never intended to get into this work, to be teaching people about writing, or writer's block. How I found this work was just kind of out of necessity, because I understood pretty early on that the words and stories that I was telling myself were really shaping my interpretation of the life that I was living. And I think that we've all probably had that experience before, very pointedly, very dramatically, perhaps. But in the course of the day-to-day that we live, our stories and our words really do comprise how we interpret absolutely everything that's going on. As the great Sufi mystic poet, Rumi, once said, "The words we speak become the house we live in." And I really believe this to a very literal effect, guys. That our words and our stories comprise our physical reality. And that the words that we speak, as well as the words that go unspoken, the words and stories that reside within the confines of our own heads, in our hearts, really shape, not only how we interpret life emotionally, but really kind of continually remake the physical world around us as we move in the world. And I'm seeing a lot of heads nodding, because I know you guys feel this, you have a connection to the written word. And although we're here today talking about writer's block, which can be a little bit unpleasant. In fact, it might feel a little bit something like, this at times, when you want your words to shape your reality. It can be a little bit daunting, you know, that recognition point, that if our words make up the house, the proverbial house that we live in, and then you sit down to write and you feel like our friend here, it kind of adds this layer of pressure. Like we know the reality that we're making for ourselves is stuck, it's causing frustration. So how do we transcend this, how do we get through this? And that's why I said I was really excited to be here with you guys today. Why I'm happy to be teaching this is because I understand that the words and stories that we choose to tell change our reality. But when it comes to writer's block specifically, I was talking with some of you yesterday about this, writer's block is a thing that we all as writers and creatives, do subscribe to. We understand that it's a thing. But I want you to think of writer's block from here on out as being nothing more than a story representing an idea. And that idea is kinda like this. Writer's block is kind of like the big, hairy, scary monster that lurks in your closet. We never know when it's going to pop out and get you. It finds you at these opportune times, when you wanna sit down, and you've made your tea, and you have the pen in your hand, and all of a sudden, there's nothing there. Today I wanna reintroduce you to writer's block by throwing out the label entirely and replacing it with a working definition. Something that I call avoidance. It's gonna take the hairy, scariness out of writer's block and it's gonna make this kind of like big, wide world of resistance to writing, which feels like it's made up of every possible negative emotion that you could ever experience. It's gonna help you step out of that shadow and into an experience where you feel a little bit more like a student of what you're feeling underneath the surface of what we call writer's block. By the end of this workshop, I hope to give to you a system for thinking about your struggle points with writing, with all self-expression, with all creativity, even just verbally communicating with one another in the day-to-day, in such a way that you'll never have to use the word writer's block again. I feel like we're kind of like revolutionaries, guys. We're like starting something here, together, with our friends at CreativeLive. To throw out this very unhelpful phrase that's been around, we'll get into the definition of writer's block, what it actually means, I wanna get some interaction from you guys. But, by the end of this workshop, (exhales forcefully) when you feel these points of resistance, these feelings of struggle, you won't dread them anymore. You'll use them as a direct pathway into understanding exactly what's going on internally on a mental, emotional, even spiritual level, and you'll be able to kind of invert that discomfort, the resistance, flip it upside down and use that as the very curriculum that you can embrace to get more of your writing done. So here's what we're going to be doing today. We're gonna start by reinterpreting, redefining writer's block as we know it. Then we're gonna get into the really fun stuff, where I'm gonna get you guys involved. We're gonna talk about these three behavioral causes that after the last five years, working with over 300 writers from a dozen countries, I've come to identify as being what we actually mean when we say writer's block. You can kind of segment them out into these three main, what we call shadow behaviors. And if there's any yogis in the room, this term, this phrase will be pretty familiar to you. These underlying behavioral traits, very normal, very natural, very human. And so when we take away the mystery and the vagueness of writer's block and we start thinking about the underlying shadow feelings that we're feeling, we find a pathway into using our writer's block for good. And then, of course, we're gonna get tactical, we're gonna get practical, we're gonna get you guys writing with a few of my favorite creative tips and strategies. You'll leave here with a handful of writing prompts that will help you get through your writer's block whenever it comes up. So, really quickly, I wanna turn the cameras around on you guys for a moment because, here I am, I'm projecting all sorts of expectations upon you, and I wanna know, just with a show of hands, how many of you guys have experienced writer's block, or something that you could call writer's block in the past? Show of hands? Not everybody, but a pretty good number. I like that defiance back there, we're gonna be talking later. (audience laughs) He's just like, "No, I refuse." (audience laughs) I'm gonna have you up here by the end of this, we're gonna be jamming on this together. (audience laughs) So how many of you are maybe justifiably concerned, maybe there's a writing project on your mind, maybe there's something big, audacious, a big expression of writing that you wanna get into soon or in the future, where you're like, "I'm kind of worried "that this big hairy, scary monster called writer's block may come out and get me." A show of hands. You guys worried about writer's block coming back in the future? Yeah, a little bit more than half the room. Fair. Is anybody, outside of our CreativeLives studio, experiencing writer's block right now? With a project? Nothing? Good. Awesome. So, really good. So we have the experience in the past, we have maybe a worry that it'll come back in the future, but right now, no one's in a state of trauma and panic. This is really good for our collective energy, guys. I'm really looking forward to opening this conversation up with you, and it's gonna start right here and now.