Tara Lynn Johnson

Writer ~ Photographer ~ Tea Drinker

Wrestling with writing

I don’t believe in writer’s block per se, but something’s going on. I’m trying to write. I’ve been trying to write. And nothing’s coming out right. *whine*

I didn’t post last week because whatever I had to say didn’t want to come out.

I started a post a couple of weeks ago, inspired by a New York ballerina’s exit from the stage for good and my having watched Manchester by the Sea the day before (see: hellos and goodbyes). I gave up on that one after about a day.

I started another post the other day about the vulture media and the people who say that horrible crimes “just don’t happen here” (our local media in particular has been saturated by the story of the four missing — now known to be murdered — young men, which even YOU have probably heard about all the way over there). I got pretty far with that post, but the ending just wouldn’t tie all the pieces together.

To be a writer who can’t seem to write is beyond frustrating.

To be an introvert writer prone to analyzing, I’ve been thinking about it, but haven’t come to a conclusion as to why these two pieces in particular couldn’t be finished (and why my brain came up with absolutely nothing last week).

My unscientific research so far:

  • The thoughts behind each post aren’t percolated enough as to come out completely (this is difficult because when I write an opinion piece, it usually wraps itself up, so this is unusual)
  • The thoughts behind the posts are thought-worthy, but not necessarily blog worthy (difficult because I think everything is fodder, even the most ordinary thing)
  • The thoughts are too big (I tried to narrow my focus)
  • The thoughts are too small (I’m totally OK with an abbreviated post, but that didn’t work out either)
  • It’s been too long since I’ve done this and I’m rusty as… … … see, I can’t even come up with a simile… … … (this was done for effect, people — I didn’t even try)
  • I’ve read too many comments sections of websites, so beyond the resistance that writers (or any artist for that matter) can feel, I have an additional chorus of unreal people in my head, waiting to pounce and tell me exactly why my opinion(s) is(are) stupid (yes, I know, many of you don’t think that and have told me so, but you aren’t as loud as those rude people and doubt)
  • I’ve read too many zen books that talk about judgment, and so now every time I have an opinion, I think, isn’t that judging? (perhaps I’ll go meditate on that…)
  • The frontrunner: it’s July and I can’t write with sweat pooling in my bra just from sitting still, and the typing is enough activity to make it look like I’m running a marathon (I soooo hate humidity), so I get up from my vinyl-ish office chair then double-check that my thighs aren’t chafed from the experience (all good), and promise myself I’ll try again another day.

Whatever the reason, at least I have learned that when I hit a wall, it’s time to turn off the computer and do something else. Perhaps the thoughts do need more time to marinate. Perhaps I do need to do something different to shake up my perspective and get the creative juices going again (though that’s difficult in July unless it’s near (read: right on top of) an air conditioner).

So I click save and keep each unfinished post, hopefully for another day.

The good thing: I was writing. The not-as-good: I didn’t finish what I started… but wait! I did! I finished this post. Well, at least there’s that.


p.s. To distract myself, I did some unintentional in-my-chair cardio by watching this video (after the toothpaste ad!). Laughter is good for the soul (which will perhaps be good for writing… eventually…)

p.p.s. If any artistic types have tips, I’m all eyes… let me know in the comments.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Interesting process. I might try that. Of course, that can’t be today. It’s too hot to even type thi……………. :-)

  2. You’ve captured that awful feeling of knowing that you need to write something, but can’t quite figure out what it is that needs to be written. Sometimes I write what I’m thinking about in a formal scholarly style, long and detailed, perfectly edited. Then I delete it. THEN I feel more relaxed about the topic so I write it again, this time in a different way like I’m writing a letter to a friend. Goofy, perhaps. But it’s a process that works for me.

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