I posted a while back about how there is no such thing as writer’s block and I stand by that assertion. But when I initially went on my mini-rant about that most common excuse for not writing, I was on the other side of things–I had deadlines and expectations. Basically, I didn’t have time to be “blocked” whether I had ideas or not. However, now I am experiencing this “not writer’s block” feeling from the other side of things, the side where no one is breathing down my neck expecting me to produce material weekly. Any writing I do is purely for my own satisfaction. It is a very different feeling, and while I refuse to call what I am experiencing “writer’s block,” I will say that this is probably the feeling a lot of writer’s feel when they consider themselves to be “blocked.”
This “being locked”, of course, is not the result of any kind of mythical wall standing in the way of me and my brilliant ideas. My greatest enemy in this moment, the monster keeping me from writing, is simply myself. There are no external forces at work, I am not at a loss for creativity and wonder. I am simply not motivated in the way I once was, forcing me to reevaluate what keeps me writing.
Frequently do I sit down and feel like writing, but find myself stuck because I desperately want to fall into writing a lengthy story of worth and merit. But each time I start, I just can’t keep going because I constantly second guess myself. It’s as though because I no longer have that buffer of the graduate workshop, I somehow think that everything I write has to be amazing the minute I put it on the paper. I’m constantly second guessing myself, thinking my ideas are all cliches or just generally bad. Some how I forgot that first drafts are meant to be crap and that editing is where you make any story shine.
How do I fix this? It’s the same advice writers always give when people claim to have “writer’s block.”
I have to just write. I have to write crap. I have get used to writing again and then something will come.
I realize now that this is why so many people participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. Turning off that inner critic–the one I never had while I was in college–is what so many people (including me, at this very moment) need to just sit down and write.
At least I know what the problem is and I can take steps to fix it, but it’s not easy. And I know there are others out there who feel the same way, so that’s almost reassuring. Almost.
I’ll figure it out.
And no, It’s not writer’s block.