For somebody who enjoys writing, considers themselves creative and wants to make at least part of their income from the art, I haven’t always done enough in the past. Sometimes writing can be difficult, as much as I love it, so what better way to start a writing blog by exploring the reasons for my personal writer’s block and what I can do to overcome it? Perhaps it will resonate with you perhaps it will bear no relevance at all, but at the very least, I hope its a smidge interesting for you.
This one is pretty simple and very common. I don’t have any ideas. Or I’m tired. Or both. I can think of a million things I’d rather be doing and none of them are very productive. “Tomorrow”, I’ll say. “I don’t feel good enough,” I’ll say.
The solution? Just start writing. Sound unhelpful? It is. Getting started is the hardest bit and even just setting the goal of one sentence can be the push I need. One sentence will turn into five, then a paragraph, then a page, and its okay if I want to stop because at least I started.
I’m a writer. It’s in my blood and about a quater of my identity along with “willfully lazy”, “nice person”, and “plays too much on the pc”. When I start writing, my instinct to have the words perfect will kick in with a vengence and I’ll know exactly where I’m going. Any doubt will be eviservated by the pure and unchallangable law of “it must be epic”.
What’s more, if I don’t write I will forget why I love it. I commonly do and view it as a chore. But that’s not the truth of it. I love writing because of the freedom, the ease, the challange, the satisfaction… all completely unattainable from anything else. Sure, it can be hard work and cat videos are a much less taxing way to spend one’s free time. But those will never leave you with such a fine gift at the end. It’s the untimate sandbox computer game. Or a novel where you can choose how it ends.
That’s not to say this is unique to writing. I believe it must be a similar process and feeling for all kinds of art or creative trades. Doing something you know you’re good at – for yourself and the benefit of others – must be a blessing for all those lucky enough to have such a thing. And if you don’t have such a thing, I believe you can find it. If you love something enough, you’ll stay with it until you’re a master.
I highly doubt this particular foible is unique to me either. It’s a running joke that artists are never happy with their work. It’s what allows them to become great in the long run, but it isn’t very good for productivity and mental health in the short term. If unmanaged, perfectionism can get out of hand.
I have been known to put off writing because I can’t find the perfect words. If it’s not perfect, what’s the point? I write because I want to create someting majestic and beautiful. Or perhaps I want to recreate an image or emotion. If it doesn’t come out how it is inside me, I’m disheartened and tempted to quit. I can’t convey the message.
There’s no cheat or way around unfortunately. All I can do is have faith I can make it perfect down the road. Some say perfection doesn’t exist. But every time I put pen to paper or fingers to keys, its because I believe I can get there.
Of all the four points I raise in this article, I suspect this is the least common. I avoid writing because I’m afaid if I share it someone will take it. It’s never happened to me before and perhaps its arogant to assume anybody would pay that much attention to my little ideas; irrational fear. But to me these ideas are best-selling novels I just haven’t got around to putting together yet. If I let the cat out the bag early, could it spoil my chances of publication down the road? Which begs the question, is it better to be possessive?
I would argue there is a balance to be struck. Ironically, I write just as much for an audience as for myself. Ironic because I’m jealous over my words and yet I desperately want people to hear and read them. It’s a very noble sentiment and self-empowering to say you do something “just for yourself”. However, for me it simply isn’t the case.
Call it attention-seeking. Call it whatever you want. Its a form of validation for me. Its one of very few things I know I excel at and I want to feel I’m contributing something meaningful. It makes me unspeakably happy to think that somebody has taken pleasure, enjoyment or knowledge from my writing. And as long as people tell me they do, I will continue to write.
Writing without sharing is like performing a play for yourself. It can be fullfilling but its only half the expirience. Therefore, I can’t wait to write a novel with every single one of my ideas. However, what I will do is keep the best ideas back to scult into a more refined and polished story that I can release in book form.
I won’t give up my dream to publish a book or lose sight of my long term goals. But I will share just as much as I keep. I will upload here on my website as often as I can and I hope you’ll stick around to enjoy, dear reader!
Finally, another onstacle that stops me before I start: I don’t write because I can’t see the end. This links in with my need to be recieved and my need to be perfect. If I can’t have it polished and publicated now, I run the risk of losing motivation again. I sink into my chair and think of how far away the end product is and sigh dramatically. Questions fly through my mind: Am I good enough to make this right? Will I have the time? Is this the best way to start? Should I write the other thing first?
It’s all procrastnation, self-doubt and nonsense. It can be solved with action. I will create consistantly and the results will come. None of my fears and distractions can take away from what I said in the beginning: I’m a writer. I love to write, create and share. And I will do so until the bitter end.
I hope sharing my expiriences with writing honestly can help somebody, even a tiny bit. Its not all sunshine and rainbows, for sure, and even when its your one thing it can be tough when you’re tired or uninsprired. But the good news is you are not alone and if you push through – while being kind to yourself! – it’ll be worth it in the end. All the best~ xx