These two words can mean different things to different people. I mean, there are days when I’m sending a text or an email and blame ‘writer’s block’ on my inability to voice my thoughts and then there are days, weeks, months even, that I have such pent up energy inside me that turns to frustration because I simply cannot get the words onto the page. The latter is where I am right now.
I think writer’s block is one of the most infuriating things that can happen to a writer. To me, it’s like having a knee injury and not being able to play sports, no matter how much you want to, knowing that if you force it, it could damage you.
Because writing is considered a hobby more than a way of life, it’s easy for people to put down writer’s block as a silly thing that you’ll eventually get over. And to be fair, some people do, but when an absence of inspiration or blank creative mind is hanging over you for months, you begin to think, will I ever feel inspired again?
This blog is a perfect example of my writer’s block in action. There were days where I had ideas coming out of my ears, days where I couldn’t keep up with my thoughts, but for the last while now, I have found myself struggling to push out half an idea, let alone a fully formed blog post. And as a result, this site has suffered.
Now, I have had writer’s block before, several times in fact, but nothing that has lasted more than half a year. My fiction writing has depleted rapidly and my interest in writing is dwindling. I get frustrated that I can’t just jump to the finished product or that my idea is not as original as it seems.
But what’s killing me the most, and some others I’ve spoken to, is the saturation of blogging in today’s world. The fact that there are so many people writing public content that people are no longer interested in reading it. There’s a wealth of work out there and that’s the problem. No one is interested in weeding through posts anymore. In order to be considered worthy of a read, you need to constantly be gaining sponsors, milling out content, ‘hacking instagram for followers’ etc. That’s the sign of success.
There’s nothing wrong with this but it can kill motivation for newer writers- what’s the point in writing if no one is going to be reading it anyway?
But I was skimming through one of those terrible magazines that they leave for you at the hairdressers and I found a feature on Haim – you know, the LA girl group that sounds like Fleetwood Mac incarnate. Many people know Haim as they are right now, a group of extremely successful and talented sisters who have helped to break the feminist mould of vintage rock and give you nostalgic feelings.
They’re known more or less for their 2013 debut album but Haim were on the go from 2007. They were playing gigs that “no one went to”. Danielle toured with Julian Casablancas and Jenny Lewis long before she found fame as Haim. And through all that, she realised she would much rather find success with her sisters than with an established artist.
So the thing I took from here was to keep writing even when no one is reading. Keep singing even when you think no one is listening. Keep going when you think there’s not much point in doing so. Success doesn’t come overnight, or over a few weeks or months.
People strive so much to be hot Instagram bloggers without taking into account the immense work that these bloggers do to reach that stage. Most of my favourite bloggers who are now breaking into mainstream success are celebrating their site’s 7th or 8th birthdays. They wrote especially when no one was listening, and wrote from the heart.
So to new bloggers, my advice is to be realistic with your expectations – you’re not gonna blow up overnight, it’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of pushing through the writer’s block. You need to put yourself behind what you post and be true to it. #Soppy I know but build that base and you have a foundation to fall back on if things get rough.
For me, my thing for this month is to realise that writer’s block is okay and it’s one of the many infuriating things that bloggers must go through but it’s what makes what we do so rewarding in the end.