Sitting at my computer: blank article page loaded, notebook and pen at the ready, carefully sipping coffee—here comes the next must-read. Or not.
It all seemed so simple when I thought of my topic: my initial idea. I was so hyped to get going, sneakily stealing moments from my workday to envisage the creative thoughts that would dance from my fingertips over the keyboard. But now that I’m here, the screen is merely staring at me. Waiting. Like I’ve just been applauded onto the stage and as my mouth opens to deliver the anticipated masterpiece, and out comes… nothing.
I kind of know what it is I want to say, but I also don’t. Ideas float around inside my head but I just can’t seem to catch them. That, or I capture them for a blissful moment only to have them slip out of my grasp again. Sometimes I see the ideas; I’ve got them tightly cupped in my hands—but the words? Nope. Can’t seem to pat them down with words. You’d think as a writer, we’d be good at expressing ideas and emotions into the written language – like we’ve got this instinctive tongue for perfectly decorative phrases. But sometimes the actual writing is a writer’s worst enemy!
Who Will Actually Read This?
The first thought that swims around when I come to write a piece. If not that, then who would want to read it? Self-doubt at its best. Sometimes we write with only ourselves as the imagined audience, sometimes we write only for ourselves. But for the most, it would be one of the most rewarding perks of writing if someone else actually enjoyed it; got something out of it. I mean baking a cake is fun, but you wouldn’t want to watch it go stale as bygoers refuse to taste a piece.
So we trudge through the sticky slum of cynicism and doubt, wrestling through the weight against us with an almost guaranteed mindset that there will be no-one waiting at the finish line for us.
And If Someone Actually WAS To Read This, Will It Ever Be Good Enough?
Self-fulfillment is naturally the main objective with writing, but most writers are probably lying if they cast off the notion that audience doesn’t matter. Our platform is our stage, and no one wants a negative reception from the crowd, or even worse: an utterly underwhelmed one. If you’re not doubting the presence of a reader, you’re most likely doubting the merit of your own work.
This word doesn’t sound right. That word is just plain dull. What does this word even mean? What if someone picks a major hole that I completely overlooked?
Phrasing your ideas suddenly becomes an unfigurable scientific equation. Slotting an adjective in here; a short sentence for effect there. Connective or comma? Wait, is unfigurable even a word? Ah yes, apparently it just about passes as one. Of course, my phone is propped next to my laptop ready for these quick look-ups! That’s another thing you’ll know to be true as a writer—words just boggle you. I once questioned whether the term ‘flower’ was a mere construction of my imagination.
Most Of The Time I’m Staring Blankly At A Brick Wall
Writer’s block. Writer’s block. Writer’s block.
Hours and hours pass as I stare into space. You’d think I’d be a brilliant meditator but I’m only a blank canvas at the time when I need to be decorating it. Have you ever studied for something so hard and then turned an exam page to go completely and utterly blank? That’s me. That’s my whole experience as a writer in a nutshell.
So I stare. Waiting. Waiting for my little bulb to suddenly burst with light. Sip a little coffee in hopes that some caffeine may kick down the door of my silenced mind, but instead, it sends me into a tangent, like, ‘how would humans be able to create a habitable environment on Mars?‘.
Sometimes I feel like I’m forcing dead words onto a plate. They don’t move, nor give life to my work. They just sit there. It would help if they formed a path leading to the lost gems I can’t seem to find. But in reality, I just embark on the constant journey of typing, scrutinising, deleting; typing, scrutinising, deleting.
Then My Mind Suddenly Fills… With Anything And Everything Irrelevant
It was all I wanted to write about earlier: it was even this week’s exciting endeavor. Now? Not so much. Turns out your utterly blanked ability to conjure up anything interesting has, in turn, blanked out your interest.
The depressing tone of defeat hits. Usually, the pieces my excitement thrives for are the ones I’m so desperate to do justice to. And, in the moment, I just can’t. All the fight and passion within me just seem to vanish into thin air. Soon enough, I’ve succumbed to boredom and I’m finally researching how humans might eventually inhabit Mars one day.
And When Your Voice Finally Hits The Page, It’s Got A Tough Road Ahead
The first bite into a sour piece of fruit always greets us with a sudden, sharp shock, making us wonder whether we actually want to continue consuming it. This is the exact sensation my shriveled, cringing face communicates when reading through the creation I’ve eventually managed to muster up.
Tears sometimes prick my eyes as a flood of self-doubt and criticism washes over me. Is this it? A frustrating last resort of restructuring and rephrasing ends up blowing my words further away from my voice. From what once seemed like a gritty project now seems to be as useless as a deflated lifebelt. I, too, feel deflated. Perhaps, I don’t mind, after all, if my prospective audience just bypasses this piece.
Reading this, you’re probably wondering why I choose to write at all. I won’t deny it, it’s a bucket full of hairpulling frustrations and seething self-criticism. But name me a rewarding profession/hobby that doesn’t come with its own set of challenges? You’ll trudge through hours of numbness and self-doubt; you’ll sift through countless failed attempts – but rest assured, you’ll uncover your little gem, and it’ll be curled up in the most unexpected of places!
As someone who is very well acquainted with the struggles and frustrations that come with writing, I’d like to use this post to encourage all other budding writers to support one another. Take the time to read and compliment others’ work. It can be a tough and emotionally challenging world, after all!