What does writer’s block feel like?
(or The Scariest Thing Ever, Almost, Sort Of.)
Writer’s block feels like there are words and ideas taking over your brain, but they are all dead ends with plot holes the height of a friendly brontosaurus and the width of a hungry blue whale. It is wishing that you could hook some sort of computer or robot or magical quill up to your mind and have it compose the thoughts and pictures that lay deep within, the ones you don’t know how to put down on paper. It is a frustrating hollowness, one which looks rich and full on the outside, but crumbles like a disappointing chocolate rabbit once you break through the shell.
Writer’s block is the paralyzing fear that this thing you’ve told people is your hobby, your interest, your life goal is something that you’re not actually all that good at performing.
It is, in reality, one of the most frustrating feelings in the world. You know you have the skill and the ability, but the content escapes your very grasp. You’re left fumbling with thesauruses, wondering if the words you were able to compose in your head just a day, an hour, a second ago will ever reappear in a form in which you can write them down. The words are never good enough, the plot holes are never stitched closed with thread binding enough and your characters are never lively enough. There is an ideal that you have created from reading both poorly and well-written works and that ideal is something you cannot live up to.
And then there is the occasional breakthrough, a piece or a portion of a piece that you enjoy both writing and reading. This understanding of what proper writing is makes the blocks all the more difficult. They seem insurmountable at times, but pressing through is a part of the process.
It’s easy to give up for a time, but impossible to give up for a lifetime. Writing, if it’s something you truly love, will come back to you in some form or fashion eventually. And, that means eventually pushing past the blocks and the barricades and letting go and maybe sharing some pieces that you aren’t entirely proud of. And, sometimes it means changing your style or writing the way you talk or ignoring grammar conventions in order to get your thoughts down.
Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. It is always scary, often frustrating, and on occasion really fun. When the words come to you and you’re able to weave them into a delicate tapestry, to manipulate and play with them like a child in the sand, to finally put them down on paper, it reminds you of why you write in the first place. It is an infuriating, frustrating craft. But, it is at the same time the way in which you know how to express yourself.
And so, you work past the blocks, one bit at a time.