The first step is admitting you have a problem.
So it’s official – I’ve been diagnosed… (by myself)… with writers block.
Writers block symptoms include:
1. Not being able to think of something to write.
2. Not having the patience to sit down to write.
3. Not being able to execute any story/article ideas to the best of your ability.
When I’m in the mood to write, millions of thoughts and words run through me…. I write most of my articles in under just 1 hour… even 30 minutes… it just all comes out… a total catharsis.
But lately I’ve been experiencing a new type of writers block… the one where I don’t even try to write.
When most readers get writers block and try to sit down and write, they sit there for hours… trying to come up with something… trying to spit out thoughts and words that aren’t coming… waiting for creativity to strike them, consume me, and then to explode through their work.
For these people, writers block is AGONIZING.
It hurts them emotionally and physically, they are literally blocked up – creatively. They type and delete and then type and delete again.
They can’t purge a single emotion, and it builds up… destroying them from the inside out.
And yes, I have felt this very same torture…. but lately, I’ve denied its existence.
I haven’t been ‘typing and then deleting’… there’s nothing to delete…. and I think I’ve finally figured out why.
No – I’m not burnt out of material, and no, it’s not that I have no creativity rushing through my veins.
I think the reason I haven’t been writing in the past couple weeks is because… I’ve been out there living a life past my computer screen…
I guess I’m not really even blocked… I’ve just shifted my priorities and my focus, without even realizing it until…. right now.
I’ve been working hard, long hours… then I’ve been coming home to eat and just watch Netflix… I’ve been too busy to fill my head with possible article and story topics during the day, and then too lazy to think at night.
I’m still a creative person… but I seem to be creating in other ways that I’m not use to… like through creating promo material and advertising at work… by painting props pieces for an upcoming play… by choosing new tiles and pillows and furniture for my new house.
Each of these things is an abnormal experience that has currently been satisfying my creative void – enough for me not to notice for some time.
But aside from all of that… nothing is pissing me off, nothing is bugging me, and nothing is pressing so much on my mind – to the point where I feel that if I don’t write about it, I might explode…
When I usually write, it because I’m up at 3am overthinking about a topic that I feel I want to comment on – or, I have a story idea that I just HAVE to get down on paper.
I then pull out my laptop, unable to sleep, and spill it all out in a word document – as fast as it all comes to me.
A long time ago I vowed to myself not to pressure myself into writing… it is my hobby and not my job, and therefore I felt I shouldn’t feel pressured to turn out new material every single day – especially when I’m “not feeling it”.
Up until now, I’ve written when I wanted to write – because it helped me cope, it helped me be expressive, it helped me work through things, and because it is my absolute dream to inspire and entertain people with my words.
However, lately, I’ve been sleeping more because I’ve been so busy during the day… and a well slept/busy/mindless Netflix-watching writer… is a frankly – a lame writer… with less chaotic and vibrant thoughts.
And because of this, I literally haven’t been thinking about writing at all.
Hmmm…. maybe I need to pull an all-nighter soon? Maybe I need to try some experimental hallucinogens… maybe I need to cut off my ear for inspo?
Ok. Probably not.
It’s confusing… I’m feeling so stable and comfortable that I haven’t felt the need to purge through this vice of mine that I’ve become so familiar with.
I haven’t needed to turn to my blog to distract myself, to write when I’m feeling anxious, or upset…. I haven’t needed to work through anything.
Have I become lame?
Have I lost touch?
What has happened to me?
….Maybe I’m just genuinely happy?…. oh shit.
My favourite university professor Lawrence Garber once told me that love and happiness would be the thing to kill my writing spirit…
…he also asked me during one of our meetings if i’d leave the love of my life, if it meant I would have my work published, – to which he wanted me to respond with, “yes” (by the way).
Ps. He is very straight up and mind-bending like that.
He asks hard questions because the way we answer says a lot about who we are… it says a lot about how passionate and dedicated we are to our valuable work.
Garber’s outlook is a wise one – one that took years to know, and I respect him… so I knew his words had merit.
But at the time – I didn’t get it…
And today, I do.
I had to submit a writing portfolio to be accepted into his class of 12 students. A huge honour at Western University.
He saw my potential, believed in it, and didn’t want me to lose it – so he gave it to me straight.
And it’s true – if I’m always happy and always comfortable… I will loose my edge to write those twisted short stories that he enjoyed so much… I will loose my ability to purge raw emotion… To shock… To awe, with my written words.
… and these are things that make me who I am as a writer – the writer he chose for his class, the writer he respected.
Many people wouldn’t know that my true passion is in short story writing and not in blogging (about Justin Bieber or whomever)… because its a love I let slip away once I left Garbers class.
When I no longer had a professor giving me assignments to explore my abilities, to stretch my writing limits, providing me the feedback I needed to become great – I got lazy and made listicles on this blog instead.
And although this happy-go-lucky blog writing fuels me and makes me happy (and I’ll continue to do it), it’s not the only writing I should be doing.
Garber knew of my depression during the year I was accepted into his class… and I know he believes my best work came from that place of darkness, from that alternate state of perception, my slanted understanding of the world…. he respected my ability to take pain and turn it into expressive art.
And although I’m not willing to go back to that dark place, (just for the sake of my work), I’m determined to find a happy medium of the rawness and edge he helped me to foster during that life-altering year.
Because of Garber’s words, I refuse to turn too soft, to lose this gift he gave me.
Writing takes consistent practice and exercising… and it’s something I can’t put away…. I can’t risk loosing my ability and desire to hit hard, to speak some truth…
I need to stop with the, “I’ll write when I want to” bullshit and get to work on my craft.
I need to slow down and plan, to figure out the plot, the twist, the dramatic draws of emotion.
I need to draft, and re-draft, and ask for feedback.
I need to do what I was mean to do – write stories that I’m really proud of, stories that make people really think.
And ironically…. after all of this reflection on writers block… here’s a fairly raw new piece of work right here.
So Larry Garber, be sure to check your email – theres a twisted, sadistic, modern-day, horror story coming your way in the next few weeks.