Sitting staring at a blank screen, trying to decide on what to blog about – that won’t take a couple of hours -, I expressed my frustration on twitter. Close to instantly, I received 3 responses that all said I should blog about writer’s block itself.
- Joburg Theatre: writers block and the concept of “inspiration”
- Spillly: blog about the pressure we put upon ourselves to blog & tweet even if we have nothing to share.
- Andre van Rooyen: Writers block? I mean, as a subject
Here’s my two cents.
It is amusing how much people take certain things so personally. Since I started calling myself a ‘retired poet’, I have been told, regularly, how you can’t retire from a ‘calling’ or ‘passion’. The thing about writing poetry is that, while I taught myself how to write when not absolutely depressed, I generally needed to be in the mood for it. I needed the muse to show herself and guide me through the words. When she did not appear – often for extended periods of time – the words often did not come either which can be a wonderfully depressing state to exist in. The more the words do not come, the deeper you sink. And the deeper you sink, the harder it is for the words to come.
Working for DESTINY Man magazine, people often ask me what happens when I have “writer’s block”. My standard response is that deadlines do not allow for the luxury of writer’s block. We have to get content out and it is a bit easier to grind one’s way through articles when the format and content is guided by a clear subject, whether a profile or general feature. There are moments when my writing bores me but I have to push through because there are deadlines to be met and a magazine to get out.
The whole idea of being a retired poet came about for my sanity. Firstly, I believe that, because I woke up one day and defined myself ‘poet’ when I was trying to build the semblence of a career in the space, I do have the liberty of also deciding when it has run its course and retire. But … writing as therapy and as a hobby and for a living can leave you practically wordless. As I made the transition into the life of an active writer, I found that inspiration harder to hold onto. Staring at a keyboard or a blank page on the regular can be difficult. You look at the world around you and inspiration is limitless but being able to harness it proves close to impossible.
Writing is a muscle that I don’t exercise as much as I used to. I used to write everyday. For me.
Every day, I see things that inspire me but, because I am a writer – of sorts -, I feel the need to ‘share’ these things when others simply draw from them. It feels a responsibility to take experiences and put them into words and blog about them or write an article, poem, tweet or Facebook status about them. And the more a duty it feels, the harder it is to find the essence of those experiences.
Often, I wish I could go back to the days when I wrote for me … for the countless notebooks that sit on my bookshelves … Now … because I am writer, blogger, retired poet, etc … I stress … driving myself to say something … even when I don’t really have anything to say ….
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