What It’s Like Trying To Write When You Can’t


Wanting to write but not being able to is like running on a treadmill during a marathon where all you do is get tired striving for the finish line that you never get any closer to.

Your legs start to ache, your mind gets tired, everything just feels like an effort, you feel like you’ll never be good enough, that you’ll never get any further than you did yesterday, that there is carrot is being dangled right in front of your face by another part of you. The part that got there, the part of you that you see clearly in your mind, at the finish line, never looking back, for there is no need to, the work is done, the time to rest has come. Not only do you see that other part of you resting at the end, but you feel them too. You feel the outward breath that comes with completing a task, an obligation, that feeling you get when you can finally sit down for the day, or get into bed at night, just knowing that the day is done and there is nothing to do but wait for the next to arrive.

It is the other part of you that each time they sit down to write, they just do, there is no time to think, for they are too busy doing, and it is not just at the desk that this occurs, it is everywhere. It happens on the weeks where you miss your alarm, where your car won’t start, where you are running late and apologising to everyone about everything, never for a second apologising to yourself for being so harsh, for holding onto so much tension and cursing yourself each time you become aware of it, which is all the time.

You ask yourself why you aren’t writing, what is it about that next chapter that has you stumped, and you find that it is you who answers your own question. You know it is because you don’t feel like anything you write is worthy of anyone’s time reading it. You feel that you are forging a life in a world that no longer sits still, a world that cannot absorb a story, a world playing out on a bad plot, a world so hung up on being mindful, that the mindlessness that got it there in the first place is never talked about. You want so bad to slow it down, for people to listen, to feel, to absorb, but you just don’t know if you’ve got it in you, yet the other part of you just up ahead at the finish line sitting back and relaxing makes you start to think you just might.

So you turn your attention to other things, to mind-numbing activities, to actually caring about your day job, and you tell yourself that you can do this, that you can just be a drone for a while, but this gets to you more than not being able to write ever could, the spark re-ignites, the flame burns hotter and brighter than ever before, you sense that you are coming alive once again.

You close off from the world that inspires your writing and you go into another that you have spent years creating, and you push on doing what you were born to do, no fear, no thought, hardly any presence, for it is not you who is telling the story, but more so you are the one who is delivering it. And you stop asking why, why you? Why now? Why not someone else, and you just do it.

Then things get a little easier, the weight lifts off of your shoulders, and you feel a whole lot lighter. People comment that it looks like something is up with you, and you know very well that it is, so you smile and don’t utter a word. You are past thinking, you are past questioning, you are well into doing. you are writing, you are telling the story that wants to be told, and nothing, not even you can get in your own way.

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