I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly; I only promised the universe that I would write
Experiencing writers block or some level of writing anxiety is the worst feeling anyone who claims they “love to write” can ever feel or go through. You can’t help but feel like a douche for making it known/clear, that you love to write but somehow some way, along this writing journey you fail to deliver. Like me, you might have a blog or some sort of publication where you regularly post some okayish content for your readers, then BAM from nowhere based on a myriad of life obstacles, your writing is goes MIA. It is nowhere to be seen for a couple of weeks.
Where did you go? What happened to you and why did you stop writing?
In hopes of trying to figure out some of the answers to these questions, I called my no bullshitting friend who also happens to be my sister. I call her my no bullshitting friend because she doesn’t sugar coat anything and she always tells me what I need to hear not what I want to hear.
Sure, I may yell at her and we may fight -because after all, no one likes being told the truth. Without hesitation, after I had finished explaining my writing dilemma to her, she told me that I just need to keep writing no matter what. It hurt because hello, I was trying to explain to her that I was experiencing writers block or some sort of writing anxiety but she really wasn’t having A-N-Y of it.
I got mad because I didn’t get the response I wanted. I wanted her to ride along my boat of feeling 50 shades of shitty for not being able to write and provide content for my blog but the girl simply wasn’t about to let me host a pity party. She kept saying that even if I feel like I can’t write, a photo or quote will do just to show some level of consistency. She also suggested to write about not being able to write… duuh Nyarai, why didn’t I think of this?
So here I am sharing the fact that yes, I have a bit of a mental block with my writing and I am not having an easy time making things flow, but that’s okay, I am going to show up anyways and I am going to learn from this experience. In speaking to other writers, what I am going through is perfectly normal but it still doesn’t change the fact that you will often feel like crap when you are in this space. Elizabeth Gilbert also reaffirms that while consistency and the discipline to write regularly is important, simply put the reality is that sh*t happens! Forgive yourself and keep it moving as best as you can.
As for discipline – it’s important, but sort of over-rated. The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. You will make vows: “I’m going to write for an hour every day,” and then you won’t do it. You will think: “I suck, I’m such a failure. I’m washed-up.” Continuing to write after that heartache of disappointment doesn’t take only discipline, but also self-forgiveness (which comes from a place of kind and encouraging and motherly love). The other thing to realize is that all writers think they suck. When I was writing “Eat, Pray, Love”, I had just as a strong a mantra of THIS SUCKS ringing through my head as anyone does when they write anything. But I had a clarion moment of truth during the process of that book. One day, when I was agonizing over how utterly bad my writing felt, I realized: “That’s actually not my problem.” The point I realized was this –
“I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly; I only promised the universe that I would write.”
So I put my head down and sweated through it, as per my vows.
To all the bloggers out there and anyone who has even the smallest of interest or passion for writing -please share your stories about what you experience when you can’t write or feel shitty about your work. It won’t always be roses and sunshine but lets learn to show up and honour our work through it all, if not for your readers, do it for yourself.