A Reply to J’s Letter: How to deal with Blogger’s/Writer’s Block?
A Reply to J’s Letter: How to deal with Blogger?s/Writer?s Block?
Hey you! How have you been? I’m going through the photos F. and I took over the time we spent at the Bulgarian seaside I cannot believe how quickly our summer holiday has gone by. Ten days ago, while working on my latest post, I felt the suffocating urge to close my laptop and run far away where I could sit all by myself and perform the simple act of inward-looking. Simple?
Well, not really. Surrounding myself (all the time) with people I?ve ended up losing the ability to mute myself and dissect the cravings of my soul instead. And though million words were hectically spinning in my head I kept on failing to group them together in one coherent sentence. My solid attempts to schedule a few posts prior to my departure turned out fruitless, which of course, the perfectionist in me regarded as the ultimate manifestation of my failure as a writer.
I packed my bag and left the coffee shop. And though I was going away in a few hours all I could sense was overwhelming lack of inspiration. Aggressively depressing the accelerator of the car towards the horizon and completely engrossed in the sound of the Longest Road I failed to hear my phone going off. It turned out that I?d received an email from J. of The Orchard, a lovely reader of mine.
Hello lovely lady, Your style of writing completely encapsulates the reader. It feels as though you are writing to me! You are very inspiring, and that is a gift that not everyone has. So I wanted you to know how you have inspired me! I graduated with not a clue what I wanted to do. After 6 months working in the same retail job I had had through university, I left for a position in recruitment. Great, a graduate job… No… It is relatively uninspiring. I want to write. I want to create. Yet I feel somewhat stifled. I try to be creative, imaginative after work, at weekends but sometimes nothing comes. So I read your beautifully crafted words and I realise it’s ok not to have it all figured out. It’s ok not to feel inspired every single moment of every single day. It will happen when you stop looking, when you least expect it! So I will write and I will follow my dreams. Financially I can’t leave my job to do this full time right at this moment. But that’s ok. One day I will, and until then I will seize the opportunity. I will live life and let it inspire me. So thank you A. for openings eyes. Keep doing what you’re doing! J.
As a result of J’s words my pulse count accelerated and a salty tear rolled down my face. Despite the explosion of feelings & emotions I simply couldn’t respond to her letter. It felt as if J. had sent the email to the wrong recipient; as if she was referring to another person. And really, how could I have possible inspired someone else, when I lacked fresh vision myself?
And every single morning on my way to the beach I kept on tripping over my self-doubt, incessantly questioning whether I was really a writer or just a girl who yearns to regard herself as one.
And though hoping that I’d eventually get inspired by the cheerful summer mood of my friends and the beautiful mind of the special someone who was sipping his beer just right near, I still had absolutely no clue what type of letter to prepare for you and J. too.
Weirdly, while lying on the sand it never crossed my mind that I was actually experiencing ‘writer’s block’. Ever since I launched LTA I?ve been pushing myself way too hard to write as often as possible, taking a piece of my soul and adding it to each and every text I’ve created. And in the process of doing so I’ve also allowed social media to become my ‘reality’ which undoubtedly has taken me further away from the ‘offline world’.
And while spending the hot august days surrounded by a dozen friends (again), eventually I forgot about the plans F. and I had previously made; the plans to run away and explore, switch off our phones and give a way to our senses.
Still in pensive mood, two days before we left the seaside, the spark in my eyes had almost disappeared in contrast to my smile which was still there, forced out of my duty of a hopeless optimist.
Did F. notice any of that? I don’t know. Still for one reason or another, he came near me, grabbed my hand and whispered in my ear that he was taking me somewhere. It was time for me to leave my comfort zone and follow him into the wild. Annoyed that my phone had once again lost Wi-Fi connection I let his words go in one ear and right out the other…
You know, lovely J. (and J. stands for all of us – bloggers , writers, you name it) ?writer?s block? is an ugly vicious circle. Once you start feeling uninspired you?d be more willing to give up than actually open your eyes and seek Muse. Ever since I started feeling the annoying lack of inspiration a piercing voice in mind kept on reminding me how unworthy a writer I was and just when I was about to shout out loud that LTA was a huge mistake F.?s voice reached my ears ?Hurry up!?
And there we were, standing at the edge of a cliff, staring down the crystal clear waters that were hitting hard the virgin shores. Him and I were there together and yet for a single second I felt as if I was all by myself.
The world melted away and I was completely blown away by the splendid nature that lacked human touch. It had never crossed my mind that the tranquility of a certain place and absence of any electronic devices could make me feel so free.
I?d finally forgotten about my lack of inspiration and rather I was thirstily gulping the picturesque scenery ready to satisfy my hunger for new experiences. While having spent almost two weeks entirely focused on what I lacked, I never actually tried to find something new and fresh to do. It was F. who covertly helped me forget about my ‘writing issue’, taking me to a place where the thought of getting Internet access was almost laughable.
And precisely the remoteness of the virgin beaches served as the trigger which reminded me that life shouldn’t be lived through social media. And, really, how could I had possibly expected to be truly inspired when I?d invested pretty much all of my energy in preparing articles for LTA rather than getting out there with the aim to uncover something unique and fresh to write about?
J. as you said you?ve finally realised that writing is your passion, writing is what makes you feel complete. And after the few days I spent in beating myself up over my lack of motivation I completely get it. It?s not about engaging yourself in an incessant writing process ? it?s about finding ways to enable yourself to experience moments for which you could later on write about.
Find songs which make your heart tremble.
Unveil a place where you could sit and observe strangers and
analyse their reactions.
Choose a random one among them and ask them a question.
Yes, go to the old lady over there, who looks as if she?s waiting for someone, and find out what her thoughts are on the concept of ?unconditional love?.
Ask her whether she believes in the idea of ?endless love?… then go home and write about it.
Allow yourself to relax after the long hours spent in the office and cease putting pressure on yourself to keep on writing. Break out of your routine and do something you?ve never considered doing before.
Write down some of the phrases you hear that make you stop and think. Develop a story out of it.
Walk around and greet the fashionista over there. Find out what her style inspiration is.
And ultimately, if you can, take a few days off. Switch off your devices and linger in silence.
Pay attention to the sounds of nature.
The sounds that you?d hear could end up being more inspiring than
any song you?ve ever heard before.
And even now I can clearly hear the clutching sound of
the little sea crabs that were crawling down the rocks while I was sat there, on the cliff, waiting for F. to come back from swimming.
The angelic surroundings brought back the sparkle in my eyes and then triggered my most genuine laughter. Yes, I laughed out loud. There was no one who could hear me, judge me, label me ?crazy?. I said that to myself out loud too.
The village was an hour walk away from us and yet I couldn?t
All I wanted was to fill my lungs with the freshness of the
breeze and allow myself to hear my thoughts. No music to mute them, no
voices to disrupt them.
Distancing yourself from your blog and writing process could give a way for something fresh and exciting to take place instead.
And for what it’s worth, there is no right and wrong answer for how to deal with Blogger’s/Writer’s Block. However, what I do know is that putting pressure on yourself to write will do no good. Allowing yourself to take a break though can only do the reverse.
Let the wind mess up your hair.
Let your soul thrive and only then take a piece of it and share it with your readers.
Writing is a creative process. Let it flow by first letting yourself go out there and explore.
And just as I was finishing off the article I accidentally stumbled upon a book which touches the issue from the perspective I’ve used in this post. As soon as I get acquainted with Dennis Palumbo’s Writing from the Inside Out: Transforming Your Psychological Blocks to Release the Writer Within (here) I’ll be sharing his ideas on LTA too. So stay tuned!