So. I promised myself that I would write something somewhere on the Internet every weekend, starting this Saturday. I don’t know if anyone cares whether or not I contribute to filling the Internet with more content, but I have to do this. So here we go.
In 2011, or maybe even in 2010, I got hit by a terrible writer’s block. If you’ve ever had a writer’s block, you know how hard it sucks. If you haven’t had one, I’ll try to describe it: A writer’s block is like having both the fraud police and some petrifying little perfectionist fairy sitting at your shoulder. Every time you try to get some text written, whether on paper or digitally, they make you freeze. They stop you mid sentence, occasionally steal words and phrases, and makes you think that your text never will be good enough.
My writer’s block slowed down my academic papers, my blogging, my activism. For nearly 5 years. Imagine the frustration. The feeling of guilt and letting others down.
I’ve read tons of books and articles about creating stuff, specifically text, and I learned some tricks. I found out that my tendency to procrastinate was a symptom, not the cause of the writer’s block. When I was (and occasionally still am) procrastinating, my head was still producing pretty good raw material that I could use for later. At one point last year I gave myself the ultimatum: Either start recording myself speaking out loud what was going on in my head, or distill it into text. I hate(d) listening to my own recorded voice, so the choice was easy. I also started taking notes, either on my phone or in the journal that follows me around, at the bottom of my bag. I trust my drafts more, and dare to read through them. The maybe most important trick is something I learned in the classes on directing that I have done: How to find and pick out the gold from the piles of random content that and creative/creating processes produces. It probably sounds confusing, but it’s all about how to look for it, and having a (vague) sense of what it ought to look like.
But I wasn’t going to write myself into some long “How to defeat your writer’s block” story. Not this weekend. I have thirteen drafts with “writer’s block” on my blog, so I’ll end up writing more about it later. For now I’ll just tick this text of my to do list and start writing the next.
This text was originally posted on my Medium profile on the 31st of January 2016. My Medium account is gone, but the text is still oh so valid.