Friday, July 22, 2011

Writer's block

I'm sitting outside my favorite cafe, sipping my coffee, staring at a cute little sparrow on the table in front of me, feeling the breeze, checking my phone, chatting with a beloved barista, wanting to go home, wondering what in the world to write about today. Some days are like that. When they come around, I feel like mentally scolding myself, "Really, Amber? I mean, really? Nothing to write about? Perhaps you have simply not been paying attention." But then I also know that the universal writers' experience is exactly this, sometimes more often than not.

I mean, what is writer's block, really? Is it staring at a screen or a piece of paper, blankly, for a period of time, feeling your words and thoughts have dried up, a well with no water? Or maybe feeling your words are in the midst of a tornado, scattered and flailing, tossed about? Perhaps the words are slow and sporadic, like a leaky faucet. Drip....... drip............... drop.

Whatever the case, there appears to be varying types and degrees of severity. One day of difficulty figuring out what to write might be considered minor, while weeks of sitting to write and drawing a big blank might be more severe.

But what causes writer's block? That's what I really want to know. I'm sure lots of seasoned writers would say there's no surefire way of preventing writer's block, that it befalls every writer, great and small. I'm sure they'd be right in saying so. And yet....

I recognize the tired slumping before a laptop, gazing off in my own little world, fingers poised to write but resting, frozen, on my keyboard. I know most frequently when these days occur. It's not so much the days when I'm stressed or struggling in some way. It's the days when I'm just plain checked out. When I just can't wait to leave work because I'm done. Or when I'm just getting my day started and my mind is far from clear. The less intentional I am about my living, the less I have to say in my writing. For me, it's as plain as that.

And lucky for me, I managed to skirt around this issue for the day by writing about none other than the problem itself. Hoping to start fresh again next week.

1 comment: