Fifty years of Writer’s Block???

Fifty years of Writer’s Block???

After half a century, why am I now just writing?

Funny you should ask.

Truth is … writing is not something new for me. I doubt it’s something new for most of us. In fact, I can scarcely recall a day that I did not write. I imagine that every single day in my first half-century, I have written something useful—more or less.

  • a grocery list
  • a to-do list
  • a not-to-do-list
  • a diary or journal entry
  • a poem, trying to break free
  • an essay of philosophical, argumentative proportions
  • an investigative report
  • a research finding
  • a master’s thesis
  • a doctoral dissertation
  • a student newspaper rant
  • a sappy, cry-me-a-river sentiment stuffed inside a Hallmark envelope
  • a resume for some child of a cousin of some in-law
  • etc.

You get the picture.

Born to write?

Was I born to write? Who knows? According to others, I was.

But who really knows if we are called to write? Or do we write because we’re convinced that a piece of blank paper will welcome our words?

Writer’s Block or Procrastination?

I have never experienced writer’s block, although I have experienced procrastination. But the two things that have kept me most from writing are:

  • work before pleasure, and
  • fear

Writing something that I find difficult to stop once I start. It’s that much of a treat for me. So long ago, I promised myself I could not do the fun stuff, i.e., writing, until I finished all my chores. And guess what? At my sixty-something age, I still haven’t finished all my chores. But I did finally say, Heck! (or some other h-word); let’s just do it. Hence, here we be.

Fear

There are two sources of fear for me: success and completion.

Fear of Success

Sadly, from an early age, someone convinced me I wasn’t cut out for success. Or success didn’t fit people like me (fat—my favorite f-word). It’s a horrible thing to be taught, but that’s just the way some people thought way back then.

Kudos to all of you who embrace your physical selves no matter what others believe. I finally caught on, but it’s been a slow transition. That’s the fear of success part.

Fear of Completion

Fear of completion is my doing. Also, at an incredibly young age, I decided the purpose of life was to achieve perfection. Learn everything, do everything, and achieve everything. And leave the world better than I found it. That was my modus operandi. Until I realized, once you reach perfection, what then? What’s left?

I didn’t want anything to end. Not sure if I ever will. I want to see how we’re doing this communication thing a hundred years from now. But everything ends, and my silly sometimes-overthinking brain has finally accepted that it’s okay to finish something, whether it’s a quilt, a book, or a story. The end-product, after all, is so worth it.

Progress

So, I have some things figured out, but that doesn’t make it all easy. I still procrastinate, though not as much. I still do the dishes before I sit down to write. Life is a work in progress, and I figure I’ll write my way to the end—one way or another.

Here’s a bit of progress to share on the fear of completion and procrastination front. I recently finished my first draft of a novella. It took me 102 days to write the 29,783 words, but it’s a completed first draft. And in honor of my new freedom of not-necessarily-work-before-pleasure, this novella represents the very first piece of fiction I have written in fifty years. I feel pretty darn good about that.

Now, here’s the thing … If I can do it, YOU can do it!

Your Turn

Do you like to write? What holds you back from doing it or doing anything else you love to do? How do you overcome those obstacles? What do you think might help? Leave your comments below. I’m sure I won’t be the only one interested in what you have to share.

a steel bucket filled with lavender cuttings

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