I love to write. As with anything worth having and enjoying, I have to work for it. More specifically, break through a barrier practically everytime. Not including those magical rare moments where the stars align, sheer inspiration strikes, I’m in my zone with my pen in hand or laptop in front of me, and I have all the time in the world to make endless combinations of 26 letters to bring my vision or feelings into fruition. Every other time, however, there’s a bit of a troll keeping me from crossing the bridge. Too well known to writers, whether creative or expository, Writer’s Block comes and goes as he pleases, standing in the way of our creative outlet, in the way of what we know makes us happy.
I’ve made excuses for this troll, Writer’s Block. “I just haven’t had the time.” “That wasn’t true inspiration if I can’t get words out of my head onto paper.” “I have other things I think I’d rather focus on right now.” Always ending in some regret that I didn’t at least try to push past him and get my pen on paper, my weapon against his stance.
After not writing for a while, I feel an odd mix of major cravings to create something or anything, all while being rusty due to “losing it from not using it”. The longer I wait, the more grounded Writer’s Block becomes on that bridge. The more I don’t even want to face him, the more I don’t want to fight him. I was always daunted by the thought of standing up to him and failing. What if I fought, and still there was nothing written, no spark of inspiration, no outlet of creativity that I’m happy with. Perhaps it’d be easier if I just didn’t fight Writer’s Block. I put my pen down.
But what if I didn’t fight him.
What if he wasn’t fighting me.
Instead of taking up arms with a sharp pointed pen, I made an alternate selection. I picked up a soft, felt-tipped marker and wrote a letter – to a friend.
Dear Writer’s Block,
God knows how much I love a blank page, an empty journal. That’s why I have bought so many. Well, that’s only partly why. The other part of it is the excitement and the rush of a blank canvas – one that I could bring my art to fruition upon, though in this art, I only work in blank ink. So incredibly often, all I want to do is write. Write a story, my story. Write a thought. Write to share. Write to inspire. Write in pencil. Write in marker. Write in pen. Select my weapon. Type it out. Etch it out. Sketch it out. Create words. Put them out. Out there. For the world to see. Read. Hear. Feel.
Do you see, Writer’s Block? Do you see what you’re doing? What you stand in the way of? Who knows what could’ve been written. Who knows what could’ve inspired. The seeds that could have been planted to one day, sooner or later, become an oak, mightier than we ever could’ve imagined. That’s all I want. That’d be more than enough for me. Not even to be the seed that grows but to the be the one who planted it there. Not even necessarily with rhyme or reason other than the fact that it felt right. To be the one to plant the seed merely to give it a chance to bloom. With all the right factors, with all the right sunlight and water. With the right circumstances, with all the right people and passion. Can you imagine, Writer’s Block? Can you imagine what might bloom?
Perhaps you know me too well. We have spent much time together, after all. Perhaps you know I am a creature of my comfort zone. Perhaps that is why you trap me here, on a perfectly pristine blank page. But, Writer’s Block, do you not see that my penmanship could make a pristine page all the more perfect? You may be keeping me safe, here in my comfort zone. You may be shielding me from the vulnerability of my own words written in ink to be read and judged by the eyes and hearts of others. You may be trying to be a friend.
Writer’s Block, old friend, I appreciate you. But what is Writer’s Block without the writer? And what is a writer without what is yet to be written? I appreciate our time together, but we’ve gotten to know each other all too well. We’ve sat together for far too long. This world keeps turning. This writer must keep writing. Though I already know you’ll be back to visit me in the not so distant future, I must ask you not to dwell. If you could, Writer’s Block, please. Please, elude me.
Otherwise, I look forward to writing to you again.
Written with love,
It is so easy to accept the negative as negative and to label anything that challenges us or our wants as our enemy. Perhaps if we took the extra second look, we will see that sometimes the only thing stopping us, is that label we created in the first place.
When we turn an obstacle into an opportunity, we may have the chance that we have been waiting for.
When we turn rejection into redirection, we see the path that was always meant for us.
When we turn the troll into a passing traveler, there is no one to guard the bridge.
Look again. Make a friend. Do what you love.