“Writer’s Block” is a phenomenon I do not believe in. Perhaps because I never go a day without writing something. I have no shortage of inspiration. Everything I observe, hear or read every day serves as inspiration.
My preferred medium for writing is my trusted BlackBerry smartphone with physical QWERTY keyboard, which allows me to type quite fast using just my thumbs. I use a note taking app with an export feature, so I can easily entrust my writings to the cloud whenever they are ready (enough) for publication.
And that’s where it all goes pear-shaped.
Though I upload my writings to a cloud service in plain text, all ready to copy-paste into WordPress, the latter rarely happens. I suffer from ‘Publisher’s Block’.
Google my name and you’ll find me everywhere. I have accounts on many platforms — like this one — as well as several self hosted blogs. I follow several on-line writing communities as well, and yet I just cannot seem to bring myself to publish more — much more. My smart phone is filled to the brink with promising outlines I have yet to bring to completion and… publish. I spend a lot of time reading other people’s posts, often feeling more than a little envious of their publishing spirit and often the sheer volume of their posts. It seems others are far more productive than I am.
Except my smart phone’s note app tells me that this is not quite true. I am productive as hell, I just have nothing to show for it. Why is that?
Conditioned by years of feeling inadequate, mediocre and ineffective, comparing myself to others (which, as we all know, is quite counterproductive), I have been telling myself that my writing simply is not good enough. But here’s the thing: “not good enough” for what? What is it I want to accomplish with my writing? Who should I be publishing for?
I tell myself I want to help other people, offering them the benefit of my experiences. After being alive over half a century, I have had my share of experiences — both positive and negative. Wouldn’t sharing them help others?
I tell myself I want to be a famous writer. Book launches, talk shows, public speaking, media attention… as an incorrigible introvert, not quite my thing. I have to admit though, I do enjoy seeing my name associated with some publication and I would enjoy the sensation of holding a copy of my own book.
I tell myself that any insight I may have, has been thought of before. Others have gone before me and done a better job of voicing my ideas. My thoughts are not original and there is nobody out there waiting for my two cents — or are they?
I tell myself that I am simply not talented enough. Even though I have been writing from the moment I was able to and becoming a writer has been my childhood dream, maybe I am just not such an accomplished writer. I do not have any literary ‘tricks’ up my sleeve, my writing is simply not extraordinary enough. But is that really a problem?
I tell myself that publishing my personal opinion will have consequences and incite critical comments of others — in fact, I have some experience with that. My well-meant words could be misconstrued, taken out of context and taken offence to, even in a country that advocates freedom of opinion. Or — perhaps even worse — what if nobody reacts at all? But would that even matter?
I tell myself I write only for myself, as a therapy. I write to come to terms with setbacks and disappointments in my life. I write away the grief of loss and times of trouble. If that is the case, why publish at all?
I believe we all have an inner critic, silently but destructively gnawing away at our confidence. In some, this inner critic is more prominent than in others. Some writers are better equipped to ignore the ever present inner critic than others. If you are (over) sensitive to criticism — as I clearly am — the inner critic manages to do some serious damage.
However, who truly desires to be a writer needs to find a way to silence, ignore or — in my case — fight this inner critic. Because in the end, it does not matter what your inner critic thinks.
Even if just one person reads what you have written and is in some way affected or even influenced by it, your writing will have proven its worth.
Your thoughts, experiences and opinions are worth publishing.
Today, I hit that button. When will you?
Just. Hit. Publish!
This post was originally published on Medium in my publication Hearts in the Write Place on August 15, 2018.