Short essay about the truths and struggles of writer's block.
| "I can do this," I said, holding my trembling fingers over the keys. As I sit here staring at the white screen in front of me I wonder, is this pain worth it? The white page stares back at me, it is mocking me, my brain is toying with me. How many times have I sat here before, how many hundreds of thousands of keys have I hit in the pursuit of this dream, and yet today it eludes me. All the times I have woken up in the middle of the night with a new idea, yet as I sit here staring at this blank page my mind is just as empty, as blank as the page before me.
"I can do this," I whisper to myself, I set my fingers to the keys, "I can do this," I repeat, my fingers click away, I read the first sentence that I write, I slam my head down on the desk, "I can't do this," I moan.
Time to look it up? I click on the icon on the taskbar, the internet window pops up, at least it is not that insultingly blaring white page from before. I type it into the search bar, that pair of words every self-proclaimed and profession author dreads above all else, Writer's Block. Thousands of results pop up on the screen within seconds, everything from writing prompts to solutions and ways to overcome the dreaded creative destroyer.
I stare at the screen, how am I supposed to find a solution or an answer in this mess. I click on the first link that catches my eye, "Creative Writing Prompts for Each Day of the Year" I scroll my mouse of the various lists of prompts.
"This is worse than before," I growl to myself.
None of these are right, none of these will work. Not a single one of these so-called prompts, que anything in my mind to start writing. I put my head on the desk again, "Why do I do this to myself."
I write for hours, I plan for hours, I shed tears over my characters as they struggle through what I create for them. How can this all be worth it?
I turn my head to look at the bookshelf next to the bed, all my heroes staring back at me. I read the names on the spines one by one, every one of them was once where I am, stuck, every one of them knew the rejection and the criticism of the alleged experts of the field. They had all made it, they had all persevered, they had made it passed times like this. If they could do it so could I.
With a sigh, I closed the internet window and there it was, that white page staring back at me, if I let my eyes lose focus, I could see my reflection in the screen. I looked tired, I rubbed my hand over my face, no time to worry about that now, I am a writer, I have made a promise to myself to write and that I what I am going to do.
I place my hands back on the keys, I have to try again one of those solutions was to just write, write about anything and let the inspiration come as it will. I stared out the window across from my desk, I could write about that bird sitting on the branch of the maple tree, I stared back at the black page before me. I let my fingers glide over the keys.
There once was a bird on a branch.
I stared at the sentence, "Really?" I whispered to myself. I had read something once, "Writer's Block is when the voices in your head stop talking to you" that was as true as the sun shining outside right now, those voices usually would not shut up, and yet now they would not whisper a single vowel.
I let out a sigh, I clicked on the icon on my taskbar again, the internet opened up, I clicked on the bookmark link to my favorite social media site and scrolled through the posts. Pictures of babies, pictures of cats, melodramatic posts from angsty teens, the occasional post of some celebrity doing something apparently crazy. This was not working it was just a distraction and a bad distraction at that. I decided maybe a walk would help, I pulled on my jacket and made my way down the hall to my front door. I took a moment to look at my dusky cat basking in the sunlight by the back window, he did not have to worry about writer's block, he did not have to worry about anything.
I walked through the woods behind my house, maybe there would be inspiration in the trees, the only thing I found on my walk was a mud puddle, a thorn bush and a reminder of why I spent my time writing and not hiking. I made my way back to my apartment, one leg covered in mud and a few fresh scratches from the bush I had tripped into.
"I don't know why I bothered," I mumbled to my cat as I closed the door behind me. He opened one green eye to watch me make my way back to my office, "I know you don't care," I sighed as I sat down in the chair at my desk, and stared once more at the judgmental white screen.
"Why?" I growled at the screen, was I talking to the screen, to myself, to the absent voices, I did not know any more.
I ran my hand over my most prized possessions, three paperback books that lay on my desk, each with my name on the spine. No publisher symbol adorned the base, there was no publisher to be found. I had taken it upon myself to publish my books on my own, I told myself it was to get my name out there, to see if anyone thought I was any good. Only time would tell, and only my own perseverance would prove my own critics wrong.
"Okay," I took a deep breath, stared at the screen and let it out in a puff, I was going to start writing, I looked at the keyboard, it was mocking me too. I banged my head against the desk again, "Why does this have to be so hard?" I whined, "I don't know. Why do you have to talk to yourself like you're insane," I growled back at myself. Great I really am talking to myself, I sighed, I sat back in my chair and stared at the ceiling, anything was better that that horrible accusatory blank page before me.
I had to find a way past this, I had tried to just write, that did not work. I had tried to write about something I saw, no luck. I had taken a walk to clear my head, and the scratches on my arm itched. I looked down at the books I had written and published, had I sat here like this with those too, I could not remember struggling to write those but I must have. All of the files I had ever saved on my computer, I must have had days like this before, yet I got past them somehow. I stared at the books on my shelves, how had they done it? I sat here beating myself up about not knowing what to write and I did not have a deadline hovering over my head. How could those that had deadlines do it, all that pressure, but maybe they did not have the deadline until the idea was there? I had to find an idea, I had to have somewhere to start.
"Writer's Block," I whispered to myself spinning my chair in a lazy circle, "Writer's Block," I sighed spinning back the other way. "A block for writing," I stated, "When the juice does not flow and the voices to not sing," I sighed sitting up straight.
Had anyone ever written about Writer's Block, had anyone taken the time to write a story about what it was like to struggle with this issue. I opened the search window again, I searched for stories about Writer's Block, I found none, though I found plenty of articles with how to combat it, plenty of more writing prompts, but not a single account of how it feels to go through it.
"I can do this," I whispered to myself one more time holding my fingers over the keys.