I’ve heard several poets talk about having writer’s block after they had finished their first collection. Also, many novelists go through the same thing after completing their first novel. Where do they go after putting their heart and soul into a debut book?
I don’t believe in writer’s block exactly. It’s always possible to write something, to churn out a poem. But, after I finished the manuscript that was then accepted by Salt, I didn’t or, more accurately, couldn’t write a poem for about three months. I’ve been trying to work out why. It could be that:
a) the ideas I was having seemed like similar ideas to those I’d been working with on the manuscript – not much point in such repetition
b) lines that came into my head didn’t seem any good. In fact, they weren’t any good
c) I had nothing to say. This felt true. But how come?
d) I could have churned out poems. In fact I did churn out one, but I don’t count it as a poem as it didn’t amount to any more than an exercise
However, in the last week or so, I’ve been writing poems again, and have some interesting drafts (interesting to me, at any rate), poems I feel might be the starting-point for a second collection. They have similarities to some poems in the first collection (it’s still me writing them, of course, so that’s to be expected), but there’s progression too (I think).
Maybe time off between collections in a good thing. Three months isn’t so long, although it was beginning worry me and anxiety in itself can be a block to writing creatively.
However, I know of one writer who couldn’t write a poem for about nine years, but is now writing well and fluently again. Perhaps a break from writing, periodically, is a positive thing, even if it doesn’t always feel like it at the time?