The Writer’s Dilemma

You sit down at your laptop, you sign on, you open up WordPress or any other writing platform. You are so sure you’re about to write the masterpiece of the century and what do you type next? Absolutely nothing. Squat. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Sweet fuck-all. Your mind has suddenly vacated your body, running for the hills like the dumb blond girl in a horror flick. You have nothing. No, less than nothing; because even “nothing” is one word. So essentially, you’re just fucked. Backspace, Backspace, Backspace…

You think to yourself, “Eh, it’s just an off day, I’ll write something tomorrow.” Or maybe you’re a raging pessimist like myself and think “What if this, this very moment, is the moment? The moment where I lose the ability to write ever again?” Okay, so maybe I’m a bit dramatic… Inspiration has never been hard to come by for me. I write about what I know and thankfully, I know about a wide range of topics. If I can’t pull inspiration from my experience, I pull it from things I see or read in day to day life. Yet when I have that moment, where I’m staring at a blank screen that’s death glaring right back at me, cursor blinking just to spite me, I’ve always had this irrational fear that I’ll never write anything worth reading, ever again. 

Now seeing as “writer’s block” is a common phrase, I’m going to assume it’s safe to say that I’m not the only caffeine fueled, keyboard punching, word junkie to ever experience this. We all have those days where we can’t summon one decent sentence, no matter how long we spend praying for just one lightbulb to magically go off in our heads. Those days where clearly, the electric bill is way, way, way past due and the lights are not coming on. So whose ass do we have to kiss to get our lights back?

I’ll give you a hint… The “keeper of light”, the power company, the only person who can bulldoze this inconvenient block, is reading a really terrible analogy right now.

That’s right, you. You are the only one who can cure your writer’s block. Praying to the Sun Gods will not save you. Staring at your computer until your eyes bleed will not bring that genius stroke of creativity you so desperately crave. Compulsively drinking coffee and eating stale popcorn into the wee hours of the morning won’t make those precious words appear. No. You have to just do it. You have to write down the shit you keep coming up with; even if it is fucking terrible. You have to express your lousy lightbulb analogies, your blog posts about bullshit, your sentences of garbage, your sucky, uninspired, lacking in every way series of words typed on a painfully blank page.

Why?

   Because creativity is born of creativity. It is not something you can ever “run out of”; as it literally creates itself, if you use it regularly. I have this theory that writer’s block (which I don’t believe actually exists) is either nothing more than a product of our own overly critical nature stopping us from writing, or a shortage of inspiration because we’re so bogged down with everything in life that isn’t our chosen method of expression. We have bills, children, jobs, shitty bosses, rush hour traffic, cooking dinner after a 12 hour work day, doing household chores after a 40+ hour work week. We are surrounded by this environment that both inspires creativity, and stifles it. We’re pushed and we’re pulled. Yanked forward and back. Torn in half. Overworked, underpaid, and lazily fucked. We are starving for a break, and the blank page has now become but one more hurdle for us to jump. When we see this block as something we have to overcome, beat, or get around, we rob it of it’s true purpose. It is fuel for the fire that writes our pieces. Whether you take that literally and write about writer’s block (like someone I know) or interpret it some other way, use it none the less. We have to embrace this gift we’ve been given, the gift of written word; even when the words aren’t the best we’ve ever written. The man who writes 1,000 half decent stories accomplishes much more than the man who spends a lifetime waiting for the “one epic masterpiece” that never comes.

   We have to practice our craft, outlet, profession, whatever it is to each of us, regularly. We have to write down these words, which are products of our brains turning to sticky goo after a 50 hour work week, even if it serves no other purpose but to get the “creative juices” flowing. Once we do that, the rest will come. The pressure of staring at a blank screen, and then deleting every word you manage to type, is not conducive to creativity; our life blood. We have to just get it out. 

   This is my theory and I’m sticking to it. I’ve been working a lot lately and have experienced multiple days where I sit down at my laptop and come up with a big, fat, frustrating, nothing. Then this thought occurred to me: the longer it had been since I’d written, the harder it was becoming to summon or produce a decent idea. I went through my initial fear of thinking, “I’m never going to write again” and then it happened. I thought “Fuck it. Write a blog post about the “writer’s block”.” 

   And so, this heeping pile of shit (resembling a blog post) was born. Brought into this world being questioned the entire way. Thus far I have picked it apart, reworded the same sentences ten times, and deleted various words throughout. I have questioned if I should post it, read portions of it aloud to my boyfriend, and quadruple checked it. Nonetheless, I will post it. Because if I do, then the 3 days since I posted the last “writer’s block” induced piece of shit, will not turn into 4. And sometimes, that is the only win an overworked, underpaid woman can get. I’ll take it.

   When creativity is atrophying because of everyday life you have to keep it going. A few lackluster posts that keep you active will always be better than letting your blog remain untouched, unloved, waiting for your intervention. The “good stuff” will return; if you let it.

That is all. I’m done now. Plus, I desperately need to go make another cup of coffee.

 by Ashley Hebner

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