It’s not what you think it is. It’s not where you think it is. It just doesn’t work like you think it does, like it sounds like it ought to.
It’s terrible, that much is true. Claustrophobic, frustrating, stressful, depressing- the works. When it’s there, you feel like it will never end, like you will always have this inability, this ineptitude, to actually write your thoughts down and communicate like a literate, intelligent person.
Here’s the thing.
It’s a mental block, but like I said, it’s not where you think it ought to be. It’s not blocking the words from flowing around in your head. It’s not keeping you from thinking of beautiful adjectives and gloriously structured sentences. I mean, sometimes it does, but usually not. They’re all there, in your head, banging around something awful, creating a racket that you’re surprised can’t be heard outside your mind.
So get this.
How this “block” causes trouble, is by keeping the words from flowing through your fingers. It traps them in your already panicking brain, and mixes them all up and makes a mess, and even though you try as hard as you can, there’s no way to make them sprout from the end of a pen, no way to string them together on the keyboard, and they’re all just… there. Wanting to come out, wanting to trip across the paper, or the screen, wanting to make sense, to reach out and grab people right by the brain lobes and scream “look at this” and mean something to them, and touch their hearts like only the right words can.
But they’re blocked.
Just… drifting little words, and after a while they start to dissipate, fade away into the recesses of your stressed mind, and sometimes a blankness follows. Sometimes the block is stubborn enough that after a while there’s just nothing left. No words, no sentences, eventually no desire. Blankness, and you wonder why you want to be a writer, and you wonder what you were thinking, and you worry that you can’t write well anyways, and you worry that your words never touch anyone, and no one really likes it but maybe they just say they do to be nice and-
Writer’s block screws with your head, no doubt about it. It makes you doubt yourself, lose faith, become depressed, a myriad of things, or if you’re like me it just makes you irrationally angry and restless and more than a little hysterical.
So I’ll finish with a good thing, because there is one.
Writer’s Block doesn’t last.
Let me say that again.
Writer’s. Block. Doesn’t. Last.
Okay? So get that into your head right now and try not to forget it because I promise, I promise, it’s true. And I’m speaking from experience here. It may last days, weeks, maybe only hours, but it will end. It won’t be when you want it to, it won’t be like you expect it to be, but it will be wonderful, and you’ll know it when you see it, trust me.
It will hit suddenly, and you’ll probably be doing something, maybe something important, like sleeping, and you’ll all of a sudden realize that if you don’t have a pen in your hand right now and a paper to word-vomit onto you’re going to spontaneously combust. There’ll be just as many words and ideas in your head as before, when the block was there, but this time they’ll all be clamoring at the entrance, all trying to spill out at once, and your hand won’t be able to keep up with them, but they’ll all come out anyways, all messy and misspelled and beautiful because my gosh you’re writing again and it’s working and it feels so so amazing and there’s nothing quite like it in this whole wide world.
It’s amazing, that’s all there is to it. Impossible for someone who doesn’t write to understand completely, but that’s okay because obviously their talents lie elsewhere, and that’s just fine.
But all you writers out there, just remember, it ends.