Life sometimes unbalances us or even completely shoves us off our feet. I can attest to this.
My story of my recent writer’s block is something I mention frequently these days but I think it’s time I do so again because this time I can tell you what it’s like to be on the other side of writer’s block and everything I see now that I’m looking back on it.
First of all, I’m not an expert in psychology or even writing, I’m just a girl.
Secondly, up until the beginning of this year I didn’t even believe in writer’s block.
So here’s what happened.
I was planning to write this epic novel this year. In fact, considering that it’s nearly July, I can tell you that I wanted it to be done by now. It would have been my fourth novel (rough draft). It would have been the first book in my first trilogy. It would have been the heavy fantasy I’ve always wanted to write.
As you can probably tell, this novel never panned out. I never finished it and it never made it passed 6000 words.
I can give you a dozen reasons why I never wrote this novel. Most people’s first instinct is probably to say that I was just procrastinating. Maybe I was but considering the hours I’ve spent staring at a blank screen I wouldn’t say so. Perhaps I was simply overworked already, after all I’m busy with my IGCSE’s right now, along with a job in the week days after lunch (I tutor my cousin) and trying to keep a blog and a healthy teen social life together. It wouldn’t be so bad if this was my excuse right? Surely you would understand. Surely I myself would understand.
This isn’t the reason though and besides if it was I would probably be furious with myself, writing is after all one of my top priorities.
So why couldn’t I write for six months straight?
I think it was probably a bunch of things combined.
The feeling that despite having written three rough novels already I wasn’t good enough. Having my writing rejected for the first time ever. My blogging stats plummeting like a fighter jet without engines. My character’s suddenly feeling like cardboard to me.
These things, along with probably a lot of other things, mixed and lodged in my stomach like a big rock. It became a weight that pulled me down and kept my breathing from being even. It made my fingers start to shake when I sat down to type anything. It made my head pound when I tried to plan something.
I was miserable and useless because, every time I thought about work or writing, the rock in my stomach grew heavier to the point that I couldn’t get myself to do anything.
Okay stop right there, this is becoming depressing and way too heavy for what this post was intended for. (Pun intended)
Anyway so then a bunch of stuff happened and things got better. I realized that I wasn’t able to write. I told my parents about the rock in my stomach. I got better, or at least the feeling started to fade until the point where I decided I was ready to try and write again. This time I planned to finish my story as quick as possible. That was at the beginning of this month.
I managed maybe 300 words before the rock in my stomach came back and I went back to my parent’s room to flop onto their bed and sigh. My creative juices were gone. I was, despite my best efforts, still a useless writer.
But an idea was starting to form in my head, nothing to do with my great fantasy novel but just a simple idea of a girl with pink hair with two conflicting powers. I lay awake that night, twisting and turning in my bead, as I realized the decision I had to make. I could either keep on struggling with my great fantasy novel, or I could try writing something new.
How could I abandon a project? I never abandon projects. What if I have the same problem with this new story? What if I can’t write anything decent again in my life? Was I even still supposed to become a writer?
Those last two thoughts were a little bit drastic, but hey, I’m a teen girl who has her heart set on becoming a writer which is probably one of the most unrealistic job expectations ever.
I made my choice.
I packed away my old project, in fact I literally took it off my planning board. I drew the first picture of the pink haired girl and I put it against my board instead.
I didn’t plan or anything, instead I simply asked myself what the most relatable thing I can think of this character doing, and the first scene came to me.
I sat down and wrote about a pink haired girl struggling with her Wi-Fi, the smell of coffee surrounding her and the frustrations of a day going wrong fresh in her mind.
This scene is around 1400 words long.
After that the idea snowballed and while I’m writing this post my word count for the story stands at 10 500 words. I know it might not seem a lot to some considering I’ve had two weeks between my decision and this post but next to the 6000 of the previous six months I think these numbers are looking good.
I learned a lot of things these past six months the first thing is writer’s block is a real thing.
People might argue or call you lazy for not writing but the thing is that while writer’s block might not be exactly what we think it is, it is still real.
The second lesson that I learned was that sometimes an idea isn’t ready for this world yet. If that’s the case, move on because you can always pick it up again later and there is no sense in wasting time on it now.
The last lesson I’m going to mention is that no matter how strong you are, there will be times when you feel weak. It’s okay. You don’t have to be strong 24/7 or keep your chin up all the time. You are allowed to cry and be frustrated. You are allowed to be weak.
That last one is a rather bold statement and I want you to remember it. You are allowed to be weak.
I feel like I need to end this post now with something dramatic, so here goes.
I’m Enette Venter and I have been struggling with writer’s block for the past six months. I don’t know why but I do know that I had to let go of a writing project to get passed the block. I was trying to carry something that was no longer working and it wasn’t until I let it go that I could truly pick up, and fall in love with a new idea.
Yes writer’s block is real. Yes I beat it. Yes I’m writing again.
I hope that if you are struggling with writers block or any type of creative block then you can find your way out of it. I want to remind you though, that just because you are struggling doesn’t mean that you are useless.
Now that you’re done with this, you know about my past six months. I hope this added something to your life and that when you click off this screen it won’t be just another post you forget. That’s the goal for my writing, to change lives, or at least to add to it.
Whether I achieved that here or not, I’m saying my farewells now and, hope you have a lovely day.
Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.