Are You Really Stuck? What my Writer's Block Really Meant
I have had a chronic case of writer’s block. The kind of writer’s block that leaves a blank Word document open on your laptop for weeks on end. The cursor blinked rhythmically like the tapping foot of a school marm, making me feel like an incompetent idiot. Trying to appease the impatient cursor, I’d tap out a few words, then smash the backspace button and make my way over to Tumblr where I could hide amongst the other stifled artists.
That’s the thing about writer’s block. It can kick you in the knees and leave you sitting on your ass, feeling like a failure. And that’s exactly what it did to me. I had a serious crisis of self-doubt considering that I had already put three years and thousands of dollars into pursuing a career in writing. I’d been reduced to stalking my dream of being a writer, sort of shuffling along behind it at just fast enough of a pace to keep it in sight; but active pursuit, there hasn’t been any of that lately.
What you’re reading right now is the first thing I’ve written since April. And just as I wrote that sentence right there, I came to a realization. I don’t function nearly as well when left to my own devices as when I have the pressure of a looming deadline. I am one of those rare people who are at their best when they are in a crunch. Some of the best pieces I’ve written and the ones I am most proud of were late night, all-night, last-minute affairs. I get high off the rush of knowing I might fail and just..scraping…by. Whew.
What I’ve learned is that life doesn’t always put pressure on you. And for some people, that’s a good thing but for me it means that when life lifts the lid off the pressure cooker, I have to reach up myself and pull the weight back down. It’s about pushing yourself.
I’ve realized that as you get older and move forward in life, there are less lines drawn for you, less people to put their hands on your back and push you along when you tire, and far less forgiveness if you fail to motivate yourself. Getting fired the day before rent is due is a lot worse than getting an F on a term paper. The older you get, the more important it is for you to know how to drive yourself forward, even when it seems unimportant.
Whatever blocks we face in our life, from writer’s block to self-doubt to financial crisis to flat-out failure, weare the ones that have to push ourselves beyond and over them. An obstacle is only a stop if you make it one. Don’t be crippled by the walls that pop up in your life. Remind yourself that you are capable of knocking that shit down. So get badass on whatever wall is in your way, and leave some rubble in your wake.