I have tried to start this article in four different ways. I’m sorry, but this is the introduction that I’m sticking with. If I keep deleting my words, I won’t make it to the end. Is it very good? No… is it gripping? Nope! Does it inspire a community of writers to keep going no matter what? Uh, uh.
So why is it there? Because that is what I managed to write whenever I felt like I couldn’t write anything.
The first sentence that you just read is a product of two hours of procrastination. These hours involved making and drinking coffee, eating three cookies for breakfast, staying in bed because I didn’t want to get out of it. Bringing the pillows from my bed to my office chair and staying in my pyjamas, reading 20+ medium articles on productivity and life goals and finally opening up the ‘new story’ tab and staring at it for longer than I would like to admit.
Writing isn’t glamorous. Writer’s block is alive and well my friends, and despite the fact that I’ve spent my writing career dedicated to helping people chisel away at it it still comes back and sits on my desk giving me the evil eye.
I’m not sure what you’re writer’s block looks like, but I’ve spent a long time examining mine. It is a white marble block. It’s 10cm by 10cm. It is cold and has this weird presence that makes me feel inadequate on good days and worthless on bad ones. It sits on a stack of notebooks blocking me from my writing quite physically. I realise that I sound insane but having stared at this thing long enough, and being a writer I’ve managed to come up with quite a character sheet for this evil being. The thing is figuring out what it looks like is still not writing.
Writer’s block wins until you sit down and write something. My writer’s block tells me that my writing is garbage, and the only way that I can combat it is to sit down and write garbage.
I know full-well that this isn’t a good article. It’s not genius or original… it’s probably not even helpful… but I’m writing. That’s the point, isn’t it?
Writer’s block is a dangerous beast. It will convince you that it doesn’t exist, that it is just a malingering feeling. Nothing that hard work and dedicated time can’t defeat!
Writer’s block is unfortunately much scarier than that… it’s been the death of many an author. Hardy stopped novel writing 28 years before his death because he felt ‘grated to pieces by constant attrition’. Writer’s block wears you down over time.
Having a creative vocation is difficult. Having to come up with concepts, ideas and themes for a living can be exhausting along with all of that, you put your work out into the world to be criticised. Artists and would-be artists alike disappear from the creative sphere daily. Don’t let yourself fall away from doing what you love because of a feeling or an angry looking cube.
I encourage you to fight the block with me. I’ve just written an article on a day when I wanted to stay in bed and watch youtube. You can do it too, pick up that pen and write for five minutes, tick the box that you need to. Prove to yourself that you can persevere with your passion. Start, even though it’s painful. Start even though you don’t know what to write.
With a few more days of starting even though you don’t want to, you’ll accomplish your goal.
As always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf!