Someone very dear to me tells me to write about what I’m feeling or experiencing at this moment. And as you may have noticed, one of the things I have obviously been experiencing is an inability to write. Well, let’s not call it an inability just yet. But fact is, I haven’t written in a couple of months.
It makes me sad when someone understandably asks; so, you’re done with the blog? I sure hope I’m not! The very thought makes me feel like I’ve abandoned something precious.I love this blog. This blog got me writing. It got me crystalizing my thoughts and sharing them. It got me having exchanges and conversations about these thoughts with people I don’t know. Some of the comments people have posted are priceless to me. This blog feels like one of the best things I’ve done, and more than that, it’s my baby. Created out of the blue one day after work, and taking on a life of its own after that.
So what happened? Why have I for the past weeks, felt pressured to write but uninspired to do so. I still get loads of great ideas, but somehow, the more time passes, the harder it is for me to sit down and write. It begins to feel like this big thing that I should do, like something I have to do. And that’s not what it should be like. That’s not what it was. Before, it was a delicious pleasure, something all of my own.
All those who have ever procrastinated about a task will know the feeling. The more you put something off, the more unpleasant it becomes in your head. The more you tell yourself you ‘must’ do something, the less you want to. Yet we torment ourselves with ‘should’s’ and ‘must’s’. The great psychologist Albert Ellis calls this ‘musturbation’.
In relation to blogs in particular, I was surprised at the timeliness and synchronicity of randomly receiving this blog post in my inbox even though it is not a blog I follow. The post is called ’12-step program for very bad bloggers’ and begins like this;
Hi, my name is Jeny and I have blogger’s guilt. Unlike Catholic guilt, where you feel guilty about something you’ve done, blogger’s guilt comes from something you haven’t done.
I feel like I should blog, because I have a blog and then it doesn’t help that I’ve received massive amounts of requests from my reader to write something.
And yes, she says ‘reader’ not ‘readers’ because she muses that she must only have one reader left after not writing for so long. Hehhehe. Yes, it’s good to take your writing blo(ck/g) with a pinch of humor. So I hope you’re enjoying this post, my dear reader.
My friend Yasmina also wrote a post about writer’s block, back in January. So maybe we all go through it. And I don’t just mean writers or bloggers. Everyone. With different things. Don’t we all have things we start by simply wanting to do, then think we ought to do, and then don’t do.
So what brought this on?
Well, first off, some big life changes. Big changes make it hard to keep up your regular activities.
Does being in a relationship again play a part? I once read that married women can’t write. That somehow being in a relationship stifles creativity. I don’t believe that at all. Love, the good kind, should give you wings (yes, just like Red Bull or Always pads).
Anyway, around the time I stopped writing, I wrote a post about getting over relationships. A painful, heart-felt post. But I didn’t post it because I knew it would hurt someone. Two someones. My ex, and my new beau. Yes they both read my blog.
Friends I showed the post to also said; don’t publish it. It was the first time I’d censored myself. It made me wish I’d managed to keep my blog completely anonymous. (By the way, my ex found my blog because he’d seen it posted by someone on facebook, and had recognized my writing. I was touched, and still am, by how much he liked it, and how happy he was that I was writing. He said; you’ve always written, in your head, and in the way you talk and describe things, but now it’s finally out there!)
Even though the post was not just about them, but about breakups in general, breakups my friends had told me about, and even though I knew I’d written the post in an emotional moment that did not necessarily reflect the rest of reality, I knew they’d feel it did*.
Not posting it cut my flow. Before that, and from the beginning of the blog, I’d simply written and posted. Posting was part of my process. Something was in my head, then on ‘paper’ (that is Word processing virtual paper), then on the blog. There was no overthinking (which was very healthy for me, as everyone who knows me knows, I overthink everything and it makes me hesitant and indecisive). Nothing I wrote stayed inside, not in my head or heart or harddrive. But that post stayed there, festering in all those places. And knowing that the reason was self-censorship made it even worse. The whole point of the blog was to just openly share my thoughts. To feel free. To do something ‘me’.
The other thing that simultaneously happened is that people started to read the blog. It passed the 5,000 view mark, Leb-aggregator mentioned it, and Ragmag ran that little piece. Suddenly I began to worry if people would like my next posts. What if I’d simply been lucky with the first ones? What if I couldn’t write like that anymore? Was my ability to write just a temporary fluke? I know I shouldn’t think like that. I know I should just write and not worry who likes what or even whether anyone likes any of it.
The censorship and the fear seemed to take away the innocence of the beginning, the writing for the pleasure of writing, and of sharing. Now I felt I had something to live up to, topics I had to tiptoe around, and people’s feelings to worry about.
But I want to write, and I’m writing right now. And it feels great. But I’m still tiptoeing around certain things, and I’ll have to find a way to make that work.
So here I go, biting the bullet and trying again. Writing again.
*The things I write are a subjective amalgam of different things. Things that are happening now, things that have happened long ago. To me, to others. They’re always heartfelt and real, but not always what they seem. It’s writing, not reporting.