There’s a lot of writing advice out there for wannabe pros. Most of it is about how you have to show up every day whether you feel like it or not. Have a set word limit for every day. Have a specific spot where you can sit down to write without distractions, Do it for a long time, and you’ll have your brain wired to pick up inspiration whenever you sit down. They speak long term.
I took some parts of it seriously, like writing a certain amount every day. I can’t say I met my goals every day, but at least I tried. I was willing to give it a chance. I’ll give myself that. The other parts, well, let’s just say things began to go downhill once I reached the climax of the first novel I finished drafting. I knew I was burning through writing material. And fast. This fear led to last few chapters, which were supposed to be the best, turning out boring and choppy. I utterly gave up on character development, thinking I knew them well enough to end it, but the epilogue was the worst thing I ever laid my eyes on.
Thus started the most bizzare phenomenon I observed. I could write about something, even make it sound like the perfection it ought to be, but only for so long. If and when I began holding it parallel to real-life events or the characters to real life people, or when I incessantly thought about burning through it all in no time, I lost access to the portal that allowed me to put it out edible. I’ve written again and again about my writer’s block.
In other words, I got writers’ block. And it kept happening. Again and again. Every time it happened I got more and more desperate. But I also began to lose sight of my original thoughts. The thoughts that had me reeling to write, to speak, to have myself heard.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about what pulled me out of that warped time loop (Why Write?). I was hurt that some of the people who knew me the best did not consider my efforts worthwhile. They’d been trying to tell me this for months, but in the race toward the top, I forgot to live. I knew that at the end of the day it probably wouldn’t come out of me. But I ploughed on in the dark, hoping that if I just tried hard enough it would come to me some day. The truth was less hopeful. I lost interest in all the ideas that came to me withing a couple of hours of thinking. I didn’t want to write at all at times because it felt unnecessary (*beep beep* red alert). Even the projects I had promised myself to felt dull.
That post hurt everyone involved.
The day after I published it my friends tracked me down. “Thanks for breaking my heart, yo,” she said not meeting my gaze. I stayed true to what was supposed to be the purpose of our confrontation. I told them they were taking the thorn out of my wound, and it was turning into a bloody mess so they thought it was their fault. But really it was mine. I was just trying to heal myself, they were feeling guilty for no valid reason.
I said all of this without really meaning it. And I would never have meant it if Writing 101 hadn’t started, forcing me to approach writing as something I loved to do instead something I had to do. Well, only slightly.
The other thing that helped was a long heart to heart talk. With one of those same friends who stopped me dead in my tracks and turned me around against my will.
Turns out, the grass was greener behind me than it was on the other side of the glass.
She told me to:
- Take a break from the pressure. I could do that obviously. Because it was me creating that pressure to begin with.
- Live life. That way I’d refill the well, recharge myself, and be ready to take on whatever life threw at me once I knew who I was again. I was obviously become someone Non-Anan.
I remembered the voice in my head that screamed to get documented. It had gone silent in all the cacophony. I prodded its form. No movement.
Shit. Did I kill it?
No. I didn’t. It just refused to work in the midst of all the hustle of the Turning Pro squad.
It’s okay now, though. In fact your listening to that very voice in your head. All I want to say, after giving you that extra looooong story of how I came back to life, is that I’m grateful. To my friends @railgun.55 and @mprome, for being there for me and making me realise what the dragon scroll held for the umpteenth time. To the Writing 101 assignments and whoever came up with them, for making me actually want to write after what felt like an eternity. To everyone out there who reads this post, for sticking long enough to read up till this point.
You may tell me I rock, and maybe I do, but you rock too!
Also, I forgot that when I let loose I could fill page after page with these things without being consciously aware of it!
Writing 101 Day 12: Complete