I’ve seen those blog posts from a million different writers, including those that I love and respect.
Writer’s block isn’t real. Real writers keep going.
I get what they’re saying; I truly do. There are some people who, given the excuse, will spend the next three decades calling themselves writers despite not writing anything, because the muse isn’t striking their spirit; because every time they try to sit down, they write and crumple at the first sign of hardship.
They’re “writers”. They just haven’t written anything. Ever.
Except that one blog post last year. And maybe a poem back in 9th grade.
Writers have to write. And I’m not looking for validation on that front. I’ve done my writing today. I’m doing my writing now.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel like I’m pulling teeth to get the words out. That it feels like I’m pushing a wagon-load of cabbages up the south face of K2.
(A note: just looking up which face of K2 was the worst to climb derailed me for a full 20 minutes. That’s writer’s block.)
I’m writing. I’m suffering from writer’s block. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.
What does that mean for today?
It means that it took me longer to write less. That it was harder to focus. That my writing probably wasn’t as good as it usually is. That I’m going to spend less time writing.
Now that’s okay — it gives me time to do Ninja Writer admin stuff. So it’s not completely wasted. But it also makes me question myself as a writer. It makes me wish I was doing more. It makes me feel like I was doing better.
It makes me wish I was one of the people who didn’t believe in writer’s block — who just keep writing their 2,000 or their 10,000 or whatever words for the day. That it wasn’t difficult for them. That they weren’t tempted to go check Twitter ever two minutes, or wanted nothing more than to stop trying to pull teeth here, and to go check out some YouTube.
It makes me wonder “hey, maybe if you didn’t bitch so much, you’d probably get more done. You’d probably have a finished novel by now.”
Writer’s block is the gift that keeps on giving, I swear. And the surest cure for it — having a life full of exciting experiences and things to do that translates into things to write about — is a little beyond me right now. So I should be doing the second best thing: reading.
I’ve read, like, 3 books this year.
That’s bad. That’s really bad.
Mostly because I spend a lot of time worrying about what to write on Medium, trying to come up with something, dear God, to post on the blog. And it becomes a whole anxiety ritual. I burn all of my spoons out on Medium, and I’m already scraping the bottom of the barrel as it is.
I used to love sitting in the bath with a book. That gave me the perfect excuse to read more. To relax, to get away from the phone and the computer, and to just breathe and read.
Unfortunately, I share a bathroom with six people, so tying up the tub for a few hours so I can get through a book is something that doesn’t happen. But now my brain’s stuck on the idea of going to a spa somewhere — or maybe getting on an Amtrak train: no computer, no cell phone, just me and a Kindle packed full of books. And maybe some paper and pens, too.
That sounds really tempting right now.