It took 6 tries to choose the words for this first sentence, and I gotta say, that I can't even remember what I sat down to write about. To say that I've been experiencing writer's block would be an understatement.
Has this ever happened to you: walking down the street, up the stairs or even while stirring a pot of soup over the stove, an amazing idea comes into your head. The flow of words so perfect that for a moment you feel brilliant and creative, and excited to get to a piece of paper or a keyboard to capture the beauty of the words that are in your mind. However, the moment you grab that pencil and start to transcribe your thoughts onto the notepad you always keep nearby the words are gone, like a puff of smoke or some other overused metaphor.
That has been my reality for the past week or two. I am working on a short story, that I hope to turn into something longer, but every time I sit down in front of my computer the thoughts are gone. I decided that it was because I was putting too much pressure on myself, so every day for the past week I switched tactics when I felt a block, and decided to simply write a post for this blog. No pressure, right? Well, the disease has spread. I can hardly string together two sentences without second guessing myself. When I sat down to write this post, I had a very witty idea and it went away like all the others as soon as I started to type.
I started this blog as an attempt to practice my writing ability. It's like a workout for my brain – instead of training for a marathon, though, my end goal is to write a collection of short stories that (perhaps) someone other than my husband or my friends will read and enjoy. I started off strong – I even submitted a short-story (that I'm quite proud of) to a writing contest. I've been travelling with notebooks for the past several months, writing down thoughts and snippets of stories and I even have a great base for a story that I think will be funny and endearing. Each day I take the time to write, like it's a job. But the results have been less than stellar and I end up scrapping most of what I put down.
The problem is trying to wrestle onto the screen the sweet, lovely squiggles in my notebook and the the whirling thoughts in my head. It can be done. I can do it. I just need to get out of my own frickin way, right? Slow down the anxiety and fear of failure that is undoubtedly creating this block. Be OK with writing crap and not deleting it just because I don't like it in the moment.
This morning as I initially sat down to write, I received a message from a close friend who needed some emotional support. She turns to me often in moments of anxiety and distress, and I had an epiphany as I realized that the words I shared with her I should also be sharing with myself. (paraphrasing) "Take a deep breath; clear your mind; focus on what is important in this moment." Brilliant, right? Now to put that into practice. wish me luck.