On Writer’s Block

If I had to pick a single bane to my existence, writer’s block would be that one bane. I’m thankful that it doesn’t happen to me often, but when writer’s block hits me, it hits me hard… thus the topic of this week’s post. I always have several (hundred) ideas flitting around in my brain at top speed, so when I get into a slump where none of them come out articulated properly, it’s frustrating. Think yourself to the middle of your most important midterm exam… and your pen stops working. You know there’s ink in it, but the darn thing just won’t give it up and form letters when you need it to.

I started three separate posts this week, but none of them gave me more than a few sentences I was happy with. The ideas were all there, but I just couldn’t get the words out of my head and onto the paper. Writer’s block is like that frustrating moment when you’re trying to get the cork out of a bottle of wine, but it just won’t budge. You see clearly what you want, you see clearly what’s obstructing your path forward, but you just can’t get the situation to cooperate.

As a writer, I need to write. I feel imbalanced, cranky, and out of sync with myself when I don’t. Unfortunately, that need is not always catered to properly when writer’s block comes to town. Both my non-fiction and fiction writing professors want us to be writing every day– even if it’s just something small, putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard is important. However, when I get down to that pen-to-paper, fingers-to-keyboard business, I often get into the mindset that whatever I write has to be “great” or “meaningful”… even just “complete” can be incredibly daunting.

The thing is, everything I write will not (and cannot) be great. Everything I write will not be complete. The act of writing isn’t just to have a polished piece to share with an audience other than myself, sometimes the act of writing is simply to work through those kinks and corks holding me back from the next great piece. Sometimes, I write simply because I must write. I am a writer, and I must write to stay sane and balanced with myself and my environment. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it can even be a few sentences. Just enough to keep the ink running.

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