Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Writers block

Sometimes writing scares me.  When I write, I want to create a work of art.  I want to paint pictures in the minds of my readers. I want to use words like a samurai uses a sword.  I yearn for my sentences to jump off the page, do somersaults through the air with a stream of rainbow following behind it's every action like a jet stream.  My goal is for the words to be a powerful wand and work magic, set off fireworks, open locked doors, stun and move people to tears.  I want people to try and grab the sentence off the page to tuck in their pocket to remember always.

But my words don't always work for me.  They defy me rather than obey. Writing is not  something that comes naturally to me.  Words don't flow through my finger tips like they do some writers, but instead slide like uncontrolled cars on a hill of ice.  They slip wildly, unbounded and without the use of brakes they crash into the nearest lamppost.  But before they can even get out of their vehicle to review the damages, another vehicle, a truck looses control down the slippery slope.  And in this way, I write, crash, slam, crunch. Sometimes what comes out is decent, even beautiful. But so much of the time, it is dribble.  I might as well have used the saliva dribbling out of a babbling, teething baby's mouth for the good my words have done me.

And for that reason I sometimes get writers block. I sit in front of the computer glaring at it menacingly hoping that my stare alone will allow it to yield something magnificent.  But unfortunately my eyes don't type, and my computer only sits their passively unresponsive.  I've been working on a personal writing project for a few years now, but my progress has been slow.  Snail speed even.  No, a snail stuck in molasses speed is more accurate. But this year, along with studying for the GRE, taking the GRE, applying for grad schools, running a half.marathon, I also want to finish this project.  I'm actually feeling quite overwhelmed.  I feel like my list is out of control, but I guess most people feel that way. So I am making a resolution, and I'm sad to say that this resolution pains me, but I plan to blog less, for a little while at least.  Kyle says that he will try harder to blog more frequently to pick up my slack so that I can prioritize what I need to concentrate on, but he doesn't enjoy it like I do.  He doesn't have a constant need to write and express his thoughts on a public sphere.  Let's face it, hes a boy.  So the more encouragement you send his way (because that is how he is motivated) the more likely he will be to keep up the blog.  I will still be writing, but often times when I really should be prioritizing my personal writing, I choose to blog.  Blogging is simpler.  It's an outlet where I can blab nonsensically and still be heard and appreciated.  It's much less intimidating. My words don't always have to be magic.  Dribble is perfectly acceptable in the blogging world.  But I resolve to not allow my blogging be an excuse.  I have to finish what I've started and I am determined to finish it this year.

Does anyone else find writing and saying aloud your resolutions difficult?  If they are said out loud then others will know and ask about them.  I run the risk of being held accountable. Commitment is scary.  And failure is always right around the corner making faces at you in that immature way that one can't resist responding in an equally childlike fashion.

This post is not goodbye, not in the least.  It's just a "I'm keeping you in the loop, and hope you'll understand" post.  Thank you for understanding.


Peter said...

I totally feel the same way about saying my resolutions out loud! And I'm also overwhelmed by my list. Good luck on the writing!

Unknown said...

re: the writing- is it possible that your expectations of magic are getting in the way? I was wondering what would happen if you tried an exercise to write something really dull, on purpose?

Vanessa Rogers said...

Thanks Leslie, for the encouragement. You too!

Rachael- Thats actually not a bad suggestion. I generally just try and write without self editing for the first draft. I try not to use the thesaurus too much and don't really attempt the magic making. When I edit is when I want the magic to take over. In that way I try to deal with writers block. But what I have really been struggling with is, I don't know where my story goes next. I know the ultimate place, but not necessarily the next step and I do a lot of sputtering and stalling because of that.

Jamie Goldberg said...

It sounds as if I wrote this post. You expressed that writing does not come naturally to you. I don't know you, but from reading this post I have to strongly disagree. I can relate to having difficulty with a large project and focusing excessive attention on the blog. The way you express yourself through words is lyrical and evocative and speaks of someone that has an immense natural ability to express themselves powerfully through the written word.
I wish you great success with all of your future writing endeavors.

Carol E Wyer said...

What an eloquent post and you expressed how I feel some days too. I found you through 'best posts of the week' and have signed up to follow you. Please drop by and maybe follow my blog if you fancy a laugh. You would be more than welcome.
Warm wishes from a frosty UK
Carol from

Yvonne said...

This is a well written post, even if you do second and third drafts. I write somewhat like you. probably a lot of writers do. First draft is so totally different than the finished product. What works for me is writing the first draft, then reading it out loud and making my changes, until it suits me and still be true to me. You have a lot on your plate, and you do have to prioritize. Best wishes on all your projects. Take care.