It wasn’t until I found myself drunk at 2 a.m. sitting down—pants wrapped around my ankles—peeing between the spaces in the metal bars that made up the foundation of a cold black bench next to an old friend from high school I hadn’t seen in four years, that I realized I was free from Writer’s Block.

I stumbled home in a drunken state, got into my bed, opened “Notes” on my crappy-but-loveable Android and wrote for the first time in months:
9/1
I peed on a bench.
It was no ordinary bench, black metal rods/pipes/shackles made the perfect freezing toilet seat on the first of September.
This is my month. Got home at 2 a.m. Was drinking in a parked car with [name of friend] and [friend of a friend].
He’s going to take my dog. I wanted my dog but I can’t afford him—time or money. Neither can the family. Things have always been this way. Pet for a few months, gone the rest. Cycle. It taught me not to get attached to things, which is good I guess. Not for relationships though, makes one distant…or good? Maybe? Codependency isn’t attractive though

I read this rambling when I woke up the next evening (yes, evening) and it made me reconsider my writing career. One does not TRY to write, they just DO it. (Taking inspiration from Yoda: “Do or Do not, there is no try.”)

Love being a writer but you’re beginning to hate writing? You may be suffering from writer’s block if:

  • You develop an “I want to die but not yet because I NEED to finish this piece of writing” mentality.
  • You’re sad 85% of the time about 100% of your writing.
  • You can develop a title in a heartbeat but writing 300 words takes you three times as long than it used to because you became not only your biggest critic but your biggest bully.
  • Your usual self-criticism becomes extreme. i.e. from “I can’t do this” to “I will never be succesful”
  • You believe you have writer’s block.

I had been stressing for years, months, weeks, days, and hours about if I was good enough to write for anyone or anything or if I deserved to have my voice heard. I even became vegan in the time it took me to get motivated to write and then settled for labeling writing as non-vegan so I wouldn’t have to touch anything. (Kidding!) But the thought is tempting.

When this happens, it’s time to address our problems. The only idea I came up with all summer was a novel titled “Rough Sex and Daddy Issues” because I see a correlation. But if I ever became famous for it I wouldn’t have the heart to stand at a podium and explain my findings in front of an audience that could possibly include my mother.

When I tutor students at my job in The Writing Center, I emphasize one part of the writing process that comes in handy when attempting school-related work:

I. Start to write how you normally speak

II. Go back and read it to yourself out loud before making edits. (Incorporate as much slang as you want, fluff, excess detail, and nonsense, as long as it makes sense when you go to submit it you’re fine.)

III. Revise your paper to fit university standards and save it as a separate file so you’ll always have that first draft to laugh at. 

Although this block may seem like a fixed state of being for many, it can be overcome. The intangibility of writer’s block shows us it can change. Since it is an intangible concept, it can only be dealt with through intangible methods. It is a trick of the mind—a mere illusion—that should be combated with another mere trick or illusion: of success when it is not being achieved, perseverance when all hope seems lost, and the fight to go on when you already feel as though you have been defeated by the battle.

Make writing an essential part of muscle memory, where you will not be pressured to perform. It will serve simply as a part of you. This, in its entirety, is how one overcomes a disillusioned consciousness, by becoming what serves them.

Shaylah is an aspiring coder, crafter, and Bitcoin connoisseur. She is a senior and English major with a writing concentration at Georgian Court University on a mission to save the world (or simply inspire more woman coders).

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