Today I want to talk about writer’s block. Perhaps some of you know that malady. Perhaps some of you have no idea what I am talking about. Oh how lucky to be amongst those who don’t!
Perhaps the moment you sit yourself at your writing desk, words transport themselves from your mind all the way down your neck to your waiting fingers. Then those fingers fly over the keyboard/pad and you are in the flow. Your characters shape themselves; you find just the right construction of your sentence to express exactly what you mean. Your ideas link together effortlessly, held together by appropriate terms and relevant explanations.
Then there is the rest of us. Or should I say, then there is me?
Do you go through the same kind of torture; a similar kind of angst?
You eagerly sit down, laptop all charged, phone on silent, instructions given to all and sundry that unless there is a fire and someone is dying- you must not be disturbed. Your fingers hover over the keyboard/pad like a world famous pianist about to unleash his newest piece of music to the world. Or the baker, sleeves rolled up, anxious to shape the dough so that it may morph into melt -in – your mouth gluten full yumminess.
Your writing mind is sitting somewhere, sulking like a little girl, refusing to come out of its corner no matter what treasures you promise it.
There, right there, just hanging at the tip of your tongue is the right word, the right expression, an encouraging beginning. It balances itself precariously, much the same way a tightrope walker does and, like the tightrope walker, stays put.
Nothing leaves your mind to join hands with the blinking cursor.
You sit. You wait for inspiration to strike. You even write a few silly things to get things going:
“The cat jumped into the bag and the garbage man threw him and the bag into the dumpster.”
You slap your forehead a couple of times hoping to dislodge a few stuck nuggets.
Your fingers are restless. You feel physically weighed down. You get up and move around; writing is, after all, a sedentary art- perhaps the exercise, the movement will stimulate some brain activity.
“Words don’t fail me now,” you raise your hands in prayer to Allah.
“I have something to say!” you look around towards your imaginary audience.
for the life of you, you can’t figure out how.
You want to cry with exasperation and disappointment. You wonder how people write whole novels; several per year even, when here you are struggling with creating a single coherent sentence.
You seriously consider taking up accounting. Surely, balancing books and reconciling statements is less nerve wracking than attempting to string together a chain of words that have to be just good enough for you not to seem like a madwoman.
You give up. Shut down your laptop. Get up and enquire about that fire or if anyone did indeed lose his life.
Tomorrow you will be back.
the same battle.
You know that some days you will win. Some days you will be beaten badly- the writer’s block does not like to lose.
And so it will go on until you realise you have defeated it and that’s when you will tear up the application forms to accounting school.
That’s when you know whatever the case, you can’t NOT write.
It is who you are.