Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Random Moment of Clarity

There are many days that I do write something for the blog, but don’t post because my thoughts are usually half-finished – for example, I think about something and start writing and then I get sucked into something that takes me away from writing and when I come back my entire train of thought is gone. And once that “train has left the station,” it’s really difficult for me to finish. Then I say “Oh, well” and delete what I’ve written. Usually, later in the evening, I’ve regretted doing that because at least at some point I had SOMETHING on paper – a half-formed thought that I could have probably taken up again at some later date. But even when I do save it, the day never comes that I do revisit the writing and so the file just sits there, taunting me because I can’t quite build up the full head of steam that drove me to start barfing my words onto the page in the first place. (Gee, isn’t *that* a lovely image . . .)

A post on Writer’s Block on the EconLog made me think of this.

This one comment struck me:

It's been a long time since I had that kind of problem. I stopped having writer's block when I learned that writer's block comes about because you're afraid of finishing the work, meaning you have to stand behind what you've written.

Sometimes you have to mull things over, though. You will note on my blog that I write something every day. Sometimes it's very short, though. Other times it's quite long. And that's on top of the other work I do off the blog every day. The habit of writing every day can keep the words flowing. Sometimes you have to accept that you are just going to write a bunch of garbage today. That's fine. Sometimes you have to write a bunch of garbage to get the one gem, the one line that you can use. Sometimes you have to write very long bridges between ideas and then go back and get rid of all the garbage. The important thing is that you don't think that everything you write is a wonderful gem (it's not, and you know deep down that it's not, and the fear that it's not will also cause the problem you described).

In other words, when you let fear drop away and recognize that much of what you write is scaffolding that you need to tear down when you're done, your writer's block will end.

I just realized – right now I’m suffering not just from writer’s block, but *life block*. There is a lot of fear here coupled with displeasure with my current job situation that forms a bit of paralysis on my part. I hate being a whiner and a complainer. I am a fairly optimistic person at heart; otherwise I wouldn’t throw myself into my community and my new studies with such abandon. But now, in the process of making a change, I have to wade through a lot of garbage and create a lot of garbage as I try to figure out who I am and what I want to be.

So I have to accept the garbage and realize that it isn’t ALL garbage. There are some real truths to be found in what I’m doing and I have to be open to the full range of experiences – good and bad – that I’m dealing with. And if I have a half-thought or a half-feeling, I need to put it down and keep it filed away in my brain, because by returning to it again and again and trying to make sense of it, one day a fully-formed thought might actually come through. And – Surprise! Surprise! – It might just be the gem I’m looking for . . .


Virginia Gal said...

I like this idea, just write it down, as you said, its not all garabage (I bet 96% of it is not!).

As for a below post regarding Virginia's elections, yeah I was bummed about Edwards as well. Now I'm leaning towards Obama. Good luck next week in voting!

mommanator said...

O honey- writer's clog, poopoo
also I am 60 and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. have decided go in the path that God directs and do things to glorify Him and somehow it all makes sense!
now you have let some time pass before making a decision, maybe it is time for you to find something else if you are so dissatified!?
I was just worried before that making a work change along with all the other stuff that was so new to you maight have overburdened! you now seem into a routine of school etc, you make the right garbage out garbage in!
PS I still love those pics you have!