Today I'm going to do something that scares the shit out of me. Today I'm going to share some of my private writing, completely raw and unedited.
The writing comes from November 2015 and it occured in two parts. The first part was a personal journal entry, written late one night on holidays. I seem to do a lot of my soul searching when on holidays.
I feel this urge inside me to be creative but at the same time I feel that I am unable to let it out. It is a contradiction of the most annoying kind.
I want to write and create and do something magical with my time but yet I seem to prevent myself or sabotage myself whenever I can. Do I do it on purpose? Am I afraid? Should I just force myself write X amount every day until it becomes a second nature to me?
I want to pretend there is something legitimate in writers block but deep down I think that it is bullshit. Over the past 10+ years I have countless ideas and I’ve done fuck all on them. It's impossible that I could be 'blocked' continually for that time. I must be preventing myself from writing instead. Maybe it should be called writers preventation[sic]? Writer's avoidance? Writer's fear?
Fuck it, I'm just going to start writing something right now...
That's it. Like I said, raw and unedited. Just a brain dump on a page. But there is something important there. Writer's block is just a lame excuse.
To claim writer's block is to shift the blame, to avoid owning the problem. Something else, some unseen and uncontrollable force, is blocking you. If only that block was removed then writing would be so easy!
Writer's block is more about writer's fear. At least mine was. Deep down I had this fear that my writing would suck and no-one would like it. I was afraid to bare my soul by putting my best creative efforts on paper and sharing with the world. I was afraid of rejection, being laughed at, and failing.
So I didn't write. I kept the ideas in my head and always found another excuse, or another project, to distract me. It was easier that way.
But the ideas kept forming. The urge to write didn't go away.
And that night in November helped me realise I had been wrong. That night, after my self-inflicted wakeup call, I forced myself to start writing. No plan, no waiting for the perfect idea, no setup. Just start writing a story. Here's what I wrote:
Jack pulled his white Toyota Landcruiser off the Bruce Highway and onto a barely noticeable dirt track sandwiched between two large expanses of pine trees. The bumpy obscure road was a sacrifice made for anonymity but it still grated on Jack.
A beautiful Saturday afternoon beckoned with bright sunshine and clear skies, yet he had received an important call this morning all but demanding he perform an ad-hoc inspection of one his targets.
Jack had packed his surf gear in an attempt to make the most of a bad situation. A quick stop off to review his target’s progress and then a short trip further up the highway to hit the beach for a swim. Be damned if he was going to lose his weekend on a shitty work assignment.
He rounded a bend in the road and was met with a 6-foot steel gate that automatically swung open as his car approached. Idly, he wondered if the gate operated by sensors of if there was someone watching him on security cameras.
The white 4wd rolled up to a low-set concrete building, partially obscured by pines, and stopped in front of the 5-car garage. The building was unobtrusive and surrounded by the dense forest of pine trees which seemed to be only kept at bay by a razor-topped fence encircling the entire building.
Jack hopped out and rolled his shoulders and neck to loosen his travel cramps. Car travel never felt comfortable for Jack’s tall frame. He glanced back inside at his loaded pistol lying on the passenger seat and decided against taking it. His training recommended you should always take your gun but his training also said to assess each situation on its merits. Three years in to this placement and he’d never needed his gun yet.
He stuffed his pistol under the driver’s seat and closed the car door with his hip and he checked his phone messages as he made his way up the loose gravel path toward the house.
I think the highest praise I can give it is that it's not terrible. Is it publishable quality? Hell no, but as I mentioned recently; first drafts are always shit.
But guess what those few paragraphs did? They motivated me. They inspired me. The got my creative juices flowing again. Those few crappy paragraphs kicked my arse in to gear and got me writing again.
Since that night I have:
- Established a semi-regular writing habit (142 of 326 days so far in 2016)
- Completed a first draft of a screenplay (inspired by the above short story)
- Writen over 30,000 words as part of my personal journal/thought tracker
- Developed DOZENS of other ideas and outlines for future writing projects
That dinky little story, and that single journal entry, take a lot of credit for pushing me to get off (or should I say on?) my butt and start writing.
But most importantly is the lesson it showed me about my silly fears. That story made me see that writing is a personal journey, a private experience, and something for me to enjoy. And guess what? I do enjoy it. A lot. The fun I have when writing is amazing. I feel happier, think clearer, act calmer, and just enjoy myself a lot more. Pushing through that resistance was worth it.
What fears do you have that are holding you back?