On Fear And Writer’s Block

Blink. Blink. Blink.

The cursor won’t stop taunting me.

Write something, loser. Shit just doesn’t magically appear, you know.

I sit staring blankly—almost as blank as the empty page in Word that sits before me—wondering if I’ll ever write again. It’s been weeks, months even, of nothingness. And even longer of me avoiding getting a “real job” or going back to school, because, “I’m going to be a writer!” I defend my lack of “real life” productivity with the notion that one day—a day whose existence I have been lacking faith in lately—I will put fingers to keys and start pouring out the bits of my soul that remain shackled tightly within me. And when that day comes, magic will materialize into words followed by self-fulfillment, achievement and maybe even a career. And yet today, a day I tried to make that day, here I sit. Blank.

Blink. Blink. Blink.

I see those around me doing it—friends post links to their syndicated pieces and perfectly cropped Instagram photos of their #FreelanceWriterLife. “They can do it, so I should be able to,” I tell myself. “It shouldn’t be that hard, right?” But it seems that this, just like the last few years of my life, is turning out to be so much more difficult than I thought it would be. My life has been characterized by a desperate struggle to simply adult, let alone thrive. Get up, go to work, be productive, eat healthy, be creative, go to sleep. The task list writes itself in plain, easy to follow steps, or so they seem. Yet the reality is much more telling. Days where sadness overcomes me for no apparent reason and nights where sleep is as fleeting as those days that I actually write seem too crippling to make these simple tasks actually so. Like the end of a rainbow, that ideal life always seems just a bit beyond my reach. I try to break down the tasks into simpler, more manageable and doable pieces but there are times I get so overwhelmed with the sheer thought of doing things, all I see is the cursor of life taunting me in melodic, never-ending torture.

Blink. Blink. Blink.

Starting is always the hardest. What will I write? Is it current enough, interesting enough, clickable enough? If it’s not a listicle, people likely won’t read it but if it’s not a unique think piece then I’m taking the easy way out. The struggle to achieve the balance of professional success and personal fulfillment rears its ugly head even in the start. Who do I want to be? Who am I? How do I get all this art out of me and into the world in an authentic, yet approachable way? The different parts of me all shout to be heard but are so contradictory of one another, all I can manage to hear is the voice inside that says I can’t do it. This one is by far the loudest, because at the root of it all, I know that it isn’t about writing at all. It’s about fear. I fear putting myself out there, following a dream, being vulnerable, failure and so many other unspeakable truths that can be seen all over the blank space on the page.

If you were meant to do this, it would be easier. Why don’t you quit before it’s too late? You just aren’t good enough.

Blink. Blink. Blink.

Then something else pops up—an image of a little girl, a young me. The little girl who journaled her way through life looks at me with big brown eyes and even bigger dreams, and says, “What do you mean I’m not good enough?” I see the tears begin to well up in her, in me, and in that moment I see her desire, her want, her passion to do this thing called art. I see someone who has a vision of life untainted by the harsh reality of it. Someone who hopes regardless of the circumstances and wakes up each day with an excitement for all of the possibilities before her. And suddenly quitting is not an option. I can’t deny her needs any longer, no matter how scary it may be. Starting may be the hardest thing I ever do and it may all be for naught, but she deserves this. I deserve this. And so with that I take a big, deep breath and I begin.

Blink. Blink. Type.

View Comment (1)
  • This post spoke to my soul. I’m going through a mini writers block episode right now. I have learned to just write (even if it sucks harder than a vacuum). You can always fix it later. I have to remind myself of that every time I have a deadline for any project.

    Again, love this post. Nice to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes.

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