Here sits the writing teacher, surrounded by stacks of journals, freshly printed pages of the last couple of weeks of word-processor free-writes tucked beneath my laptop.
Characteristically, I have a pen in my mouth and I’m gnawing it to pieces. I hope I don’t swallow any ink. I pick up a page, scan it, shake my head.
This one’s too depressing. That one, I already turned into a blog post. This one’s too personal. That one was just a really, really long free-write about shopping for pants, and I can’t find any redeeming qualities in it. This one bears no relevance whatsoever to my blog.
I want to cry; why do all of these pages look so useless to me right now?
I think about resorting to a generic, safety-net blog post: The List Post. The Book Review. The Link Post. The Photograph with Poignant Quote.
I start making tiny braids in my hair and wonder if I should paint my toenails.
And I’m still chewing on the same pen.
I think about posting Wise Words about how there is no such thing as writer’s block–because in essence, that’s true. You can always sit down and free-write. There are always words waiting at the bottom of the well.
But you know what?
Instead, I’ll say it and own it. I. Feel. Blocked.
Even just typing those words, I feel an opening, a loosening in my chest. Yes, admitting it is good sometimes. It helps me breathe a little more deeply.
Admitting it sometimes is just the trick. Writing “I feel blocked” on a page taps the well, opens the spring of words. From there, maybe you’ll write your way into a solution, into the reason that you feel blocked this day, this week, this month.
Or maybe you’ll just write “I feel blocked” one hundred times in a row, until your pen runs out of ink. At least you’ve written something today.
Does anyone else want to own up? Who else feels blocked this week? What are your tricks for un-blocking?
(You can answer these questions here in the comments. Or, if you are so inclined, I am still looking for guest bloggers here at Invincible Summer. Drop me an email at jess (dot) invincible (dot) summer (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll talk blog posts, writer’s block, ideas, and solutions to save people like me from destroying our teeth by chewing pens to shreds).