What Writer’s Block Is Like

What Writer’s Block Is Like

It feels like sitting in front of a screen, wondering about the meaning of life, and not being able to put any of it into words.

It feels like endless rabbit trails of researching the effects of SPF and watching screaming goat videos and taking stupid quizzes to see what kind of pizza topping I am most like in order to avoid opening my drafts and working.

It feels like browsing the explore tab on Instagram to avoid even writing this list.

It feels like wondering if I’ve permanently exhausted my creative source. Maybe I’ve used up my whole supply and there are no more words to be had, ever again. The well is dry forever.

It feels like reading back over old stuff and thinking, well, that was terrible writing. But alas, I can’t write even that well today.

It feels like wanting to complain that nothing is happening for me to write about. And at the same time, I want to complain that my life is far too busy to take time to write well.

So I stare blankly at the screen, type a paragraph, read it, and delete it. I repeat this process ad infinitum.

New ideas come to mind, and I save them up for when I have a chance to write, but when I sit down with my laptop, the words don’t come. I stare out the window instead and contemplate the results of my latest personality test. “You tend to live too much inside your head,” it tells me. Hm, I think that could be true, but I’m going to have to overthink it for a few days to make sure. Welp, too much time has passed now and I can’t write after all. Shut laptop.

Occasionally inspiration will strike, and I’ll write a post I’m pleased with. Naturally the only topic it strikes on is broccoli. Nobody wants to read about broccoli, silly. There’s a reason Buzzfeed articles aren’t filled with broccoli. It’s not the most attractive thing to pop into a title, you know, but nevertheless, the broccoli beckons.

Time for another break. Let’s try scrolling social media a while; that’s a proven technique for building creativity. Hah. Or not.

Drafts are piling up, but none of them are fit to publish because I can’t make myself finish any! I consider deleting my blog and burning my laptop.

I remind myself that I want to write a book someday. If I want to write a book, I have to write even when I don’t feel like it. I write several paragraphs, full of dead, dry, stilted, flavorless sentences. I knock my head gently against my desk several times.

I remember that writers also need to read a lot to be worth anything. Ah yes, another distraction, one I can even somewhat justify! I finish four books in one weekend. I search my brain cells for fresh inspiration, but realize there is none. Maybe I shouldn’t have read C.S. Lewis. Maybe reading a writer below my skill level would be more inspirational. I consider searching for Janette Oke books. Never mind that even Janette Oke has written more that 75 books, and been very successful, regardless of my (ill-concealed) scorn for her.

And finally, I do what my mother taught me to do: when you have a school essay to write and you whine about not knowing what to write, then write about not knowing what to write! And eventually, the words will come again.

 

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