Dare I say, painful?
It physically hurts. And it’s lasted for more than a week.
I’m starting to get concerned.
Writer’s block that I can’t seem to overcome. I even attempted the trick where I start out writing about my writer’s block, which I’ve read can help. People seemingly stuck in their tracks find a way to write through the block, prose bursts forth and they’re writing a masterpiece. Ok, probably not a masterpiece but at least the start of a rough, really rough, 1st draft. But me? I keep asking questions: why is this happening? Why can’t I seem to break through? What type of writer am I? The questions are endless and with each new question the words seem farther away.
Yesterday I was at my wit’s end, and turned to writing in my journal. I figured if I couldn’t write a story at least I could write about how I felt about not being able to write. With each sentence my anxiety grew until I couldn’t stop writing—in capital letters. I was essentially yelling at myself in my journal. Who does this? With each swipe of the pen on paper, my frustration mounted until I just started scribbling on the page, essentially ripping it from the binding and then promptly burst into tears. Until there was nothing left.
But then? One breath, followed by another. I sat with my mangled Moleskine. I attempted to compose myself and gather my thoughts. I walked away from yesterday’s writing session with silence and a bit of clarity. I suppose sometimes you have to break down everything (barriers, preconceived notions, your mental state) in order to start from scratch and rebuild.
Yeah, yeah. I know.
I’m about a decade late to the Dave Eggers party. What can I say? I’ve already explained my extensive “to read” list of books—on my nightstand, the Kindle, the electronic list that grows exponentially and on and on.
Reading “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” is just that. Genius. Eggers’ stream-of-consciousness prose reminds me of “On the Road” and I find myself getting thoroughly absorbed in its pages.This passage made me stop in my tracks, dog ear the bottom right corner, grab a pencil and underline:
“…we’re putting something together that will smash all these misconceptions about us, how it’ll help us all to throw off the shackles of our supposed obligations, our fruitless career tracks, how we will force, at least urge, millions to live more exceptional lives, to [standing up for effect] do extraordinary things, to travel the world, to help people and start things and end things and build things…”
I stopped reading altogether to consider the tug we often feel as we go through our lives. This is a common question that I often find I wrestle with—are we doing what we should be doing with our lives? Is there something bigger, different from the norm, off the beaten path that we should be exploring? Something radically different that we should be doing with our lives if we would only be still and heed the call.
Every day my mouse hovers near the WordPress Dashboard link on my Bookmarks Bar and never once makes it to the “click” phase. With each passing day I felt a little guiltier like I’m neglecting an important writing outlet. After all, I write nearly every day: working on short stories, outlining new ideas, the occasional pitch. I am, dare I say, prolific? Yet a blog post is seemingly out of reach and I wonder how many other bloggers struggle with the start-stop-start of blogging?
Six weeks are enough of a lag time though and let’s face it, the type-A girl that I am would be mortified if you looked at my archives and noticed there was a month missing (see: March and July 2012, not to be repeated). In thinking about my first foray back to blogdom after an extended absence I couldn’t decide on a topic, so I figured a brief synopsis on five events that would have been separate blog posts had I got my act together:
About this time two Mondays ago my brightly lit world went dark.
Super Storm Sandy made her presence known and took away our lights, the Internet and the soft glow of our 42″ flat screen tv. Oh, and lest I forget the necessities: heat, access to money or gasoline and any semblance of fresh produce.
But we survived. We had water, a decent amount of non-perishable food items and candles. Make that oodles of candles (side note: one bag of 100 tea lights will last you 9 days without power and light up to 4 rooms/day. And you’ll still have some leftover to decorate the votive holders stashed around your house. You’re welcome).
Today I officially “claim” that sentence as my own. Sure, in years past I could have said that I write for a living (in a public relations capacity) but I never claimed the “writer” label, instead using it to describe my dream of one day becoming one. The pipe dream that I could cling to in the hopes that one day it would come true.
Funny it took a hurricane, nay a super storm, some may even say the perfect storm to bring it to fruition.
Hurricane Sandy has since come and gone. In its wake? An entire coastline is destroyed and small towns are left trying to figure out the extent of the damage. Days are spent cleaning up the reminders of gale force winds that ripped large oaks from their perches, sent debris cascading through neighborhood streets, and toppled telephone and power lines like they were lined up dominoes.
And me? I sit and wait. No power, spotty cell phone reception that allows for the random text message in and out, not to mention the threat of the water contamination and looming shut-off (glad I housed that SIGG bottle of water earlier).
One of the loves of my life is simultaneously the bane of my existence.
What does this look like, you ask? A warped cycle that goes a little something like this:
I go out and experience everything (heck, anything) that could potentially become fodder for my writing (read: copious notes in my Moleskine) and when the creative inspiration hit me, I spend HOURS writing. It is a “feast or famine” mentality that keeps the thoughts tumbling around in my head instead of flowing through my fingertips onto the screen or page before me. My recent writing challenge helped me identify that I don’t carve out enough time to devote to a daily writing practice. But the what about the other side of the coin—this deeply held belief I have about the creative spirit and writing when inspiration strikes?