I’ve struggled with a major case of writer’s block for several months now. Whatever past invisible force moved me to put fingers to keypad appears to have gone on a vacation. In my quest to bring it back from the beach or whatever safari it’s on, I’ve read several posts by other bloggers and writers who struggle with the same blockage. More than a few are adamant that there’s “no such thing as writer’s block.”
If that’s the case, then why is it that each post I crank out lately seems to take me eons to produce? Sometimes I’ll write one sentence, proclaim it “garbage” or not something I can create a post around and there it sits, another unfinished draft.
I understand that writer’s block isn’t just about the seeming inability to write or lacking ideas. There are often underlying reasons for why the words won’t come out.
I believe the problem began once I transitioned from blogging as a hobby to blogging for income.
I resisted monetizing my blog for the longest time despite the fact that several people encouraged me to do so:
“Your blog is great, you should try to make money from it. More people should read what you write!”
“You’re a great writer; you could write a book!”
I demurred for nearly two years, explaining that I enjoy writing as a hobby and don’t want to ruin the fun of it by adding monetary pressure to the mix.
It’s a legitimate concern for me. Back when I was pursuing an acting career, I took classes on different types of method acting, on succeeding in commercial auditions and learning to cold read, among others. It seemed as though the more I learned about the business side of acting and the more I deconstructed acting into a series of methods and it became more about mechanics than the joy of performing, the less pleasurable I found it. Acting used to make me feel alive. I loved losing myself in a character and fed off the energy of delighted audiences. The contentment and sense of liberation I once derived from entertaining, dissipated until I didn’t enjoy it anymore. Once you no longer enjoy acting, putting up with the business of Hollywood shenanigans hardly seems worth it.
Last summer, after getting laid off from my job at Fancy Startup from hell, I knew I had to make a change. I’d spent years agonizing over what my “passion” is. What could I do that’s truly enjoyable, will generate enough income for me to live on (including travel) and not require me to work in the confines of an office – which I’ve never liked – living for the weekend, serving as a lackey to other people’s whims, goals, values and deadlines, along with the accompanying stress, all to make some rich guy richer. One day the proverbial lightbulb appeared and I thought, “Duh, Keisha. Your blog! You do it for free and you love it, why not turn it into something?” Work for myself, you say, self? Yes! Sign me up!
Things went swimmingly until I began to care more about things like traffic stats, comments, social media following and writing the best headlines to get attention. Everything I read and researched in an attempt to help my new business grow, seemed to make me feel more inadequate as a blogger and writer. Am I actually going to make it at this?
Now when I think of what to write, these are some of the thoughts that cycle through my head:
“But, how will I write an intro that hooks readers?”
“Is anyone going to care about this?”
“What is my point? People come to my blog for thought-provoking reads; this post has no point. It’s fluffy.”
“That’s not funny enough. People expect me to be funny.”
“This would make for an excellent blog post, but x person and y person might be offended that I chose to write about this and not that.”
“Passive voice is bad. I have to reconstruct that sentence. Argh!”
“If you want blogging success, you have to write x number of posts a week.”
Each of these notions fill me with apprehension and dampen my desire to write.
It doesn’t help that I’m an overachiever with high standards for work quality.
I want my writing mojo back! Come back my friend! Return to me!
Do you believe in writer’s block? Have you experienced writer’s block; if so, how have you worked through it?