Writer’s Block – the beast that lurks beneath my bed
It is the beast that has burdened me for around five years. Writer’s block jumps joyfully on the shattered shards of any creativity that may leak from my addled brain. It haunts me, taunts me, teases me with snippets of brilliance. Then fails me when I feel ready to face the world and produce something amazeballs. I’m certainly capable of sparkly unicorn poo with sprinkles fantastic things. EVERYONE IS!
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago
There was a thirty something woman stuck in a loveless marriage with two children who went wandering into her mother’s attic and brought down her old journal. In the journal among the notes taken for Biomedical Sciences and anatomy classes were masses and masses of poems. Something which was such an integral part of me not so long ago had been boxed up, forgotten about and grown dusty amongst the cobwebs of mam’s attic.
I asked myself, what had happened to this hopeful girl who had penned hundreds of poems, countless short stories. Even illustrated short books for kids? Had I forgotten what it was like to feel proper emotion an translate it into a spine tingley array of random words? It might sound a little melodramatic, but this girl was jut a shade. I decided in my unhappiness that I could resurrect her somehow. Mould her and make her better. Because by now I had more experience to write about. My heart had been broken. I had loved intently. Maybe I could communicate to the world the frustration I felt every day. Every day doing the same thing. Groundhogging my way through a life which should have been joyful.
I should have known at that point that I was desperately bad with post natal depression and possibly at the lowest ebb of my thirty years. I just thought it would be an outlet. And it certainly was.
I was convinced that I was no good, but a friend read some of my earlier work, and basically coerced me into forcing it on the rest of the world. I started to blog, because that’s what she recommended. She kept her own blog and introduced me to a circle of poets, and the rest is history. I worked incredibly hard to improve my writing during this period. I was full of inspiration. Everything got me thinking. Talking about writing wanted to make me write more. Pretty sure I was full of endorphins and high on words. I look back at this blog now, with the same sense of longing as those coffee stained notes I found at mum’s. Some of the earlier pieces are very rough around the edges. But you can see how much love and development went into stringing these words together.
I was a bit like Alice through the looking-glass. I wrote and wrote endlessly. It definitely helped me through the separation, and messy divorce. And most of it came from observing. I’ve always been keen on people watching and analysis.
When we learn to listen was one such real life observation. out of nowhere at two o’clock in the morning after people watching on a very long train ride on a damaged rail line between King’s Cross and King’s Lynn. We were stuck, waiting for some leaves, or detritus or a particle of dust to be removed from the rail. I just had an itch. It grew and formed in the back of my mind. Bob’s your uncle, by two in the morning I had written the damn thing in toto. Words just flowed. They worked.
At this point in time I also got into writing bits and bobs for different sources. Guest posts for different authors, women’s networks etc. I decided I would like to retrain as a journalist. The rest my dear is history…
Combatting Writer’s block
So, how do you do it? Is there a magic Hufflepuff wand I’ve forgotten somewhere in the room of requirement? I promise – no more Rowling references. It’s bloody hard work. This post, and this blog is one way of trying to find my mojo once more. I lost love for all things poetry back in 2014 ish. The poetry group I belonged to, who were so supportive and nurturing dissolved into the ether. They were partly responsible for giving me that confidence I needed to create.
I got fed up of the like for like commenting on blogs. I read what I enjoy, and I’ve stuck to that mantra. But the reading of poetry is also at a stop. I’ve read a load of posts about overcoming the dreaded dark beast of wordlessness. Yet nothing juicy comes my way. I find myself searching my brain for something. A stanza. Perhaps a little light in the dark. I’ve written stuff. Yes, sure but it all seems to be a little bit like a soggy wet fart when I read it back to myself. Definitely not professional or high brow enough for publication.
One of my favourite poet in the world, Maya Angelou said:
“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’”
Where are you Musey?
I’m convinced that someday my muse will slink back from her extended jollies in Casablanca, Salou, Rhyl or wherever the heck she’s been and we will once again be a flaming hot couple of strong women. She will whisper her seductions in my willing ear when I least expect it and BOOM, there it will be. Writing like a mad person again. My pink fountain pen will be on fire, burning the midnight oil until my journal is brimming at the scenes with amazing material.
Until then, the block resides firmly under my bed. Breathing nothing at me but a halitosis stench that makes me gag, making me wish it had brushed it’s bloody teeth when it was a kid. There is no blame here. I don’t blame sleep deprivation, I was deprived of that when I was at my peak years ago. I don’t blame the kids, moving house or my relationship. The buck stops beneath my divan. One day I’ll blast the little shit out with my magic fingers. Until then, I’m blessed with this place, and my gorgeous peeps.
All stationary featured here is from the current correspondence range at WHSmith. They’re possibly my fave things ever at the moment next to my kids!