|Pretty homemade bars|
Then something happened, and I still don’t know what. About a year ago, it became harder to write, and about six months ago, the writing machine in my head began shutting down almost entirely.
I am now at a complete standstill. I am locked in a cage of my own making, of my own mind. Somewhere in the depths of me, there might be a key — there must be — but that sucker is well hidden.
This is distressing, to say the least. I’ve tried various tricks to free my inner writer: reading excellent fiction, reading how-to-write books, trying out writing prompts, reviewing my works-in-progress, joining NaNoWriMo, and finally, simply forcing myself to sit down and pound out words. “Even if it’s terrible,” I said to myself, “do it anyway.” I granted permission to write crap, to write a string of nonsense words, anything. I figured if I faked it for a bit, my little prison might open. At least, the gap between the bars might widen a tiny bit.
I figured wrong.
This is not writer’s block. At least, not the way I understand it. Writer’s block is when you can’t think of what to say next, isn’t it? When you lack inspiration. I know what needs writing. I write in my head every night as I drift off to sleep. I already have a first draft of one novel mostly written. I’ve got an outline, solid characters, and a trajectory of scenes. It really should be quite straightforward.
No, this is not writer’s block: it’s more like writer’s phobia. When I sit at the computer and open up Word, I feel nauseous. Literally sick to my stomach. Even the icon for Word, that little blue W, makes me break out into a cold sweat.
|The stuff of nightmares|
|White Page of Doom|
I never thought this would happen to me. I used to zone out at parties or school functions, daydreaming of my characters, desperate to get back to my computer so I could write more, more, more. I was so smitten with the act of creation; it felt like falling in love. It was blissful. It was maddening.
I’m not sure what to do next. Faced with a lack of alternatives, I’ve accepted that there’s nothing I can do. As I’ve watched the end of NaNoWriMo ticking by, I’ve hit a point of fatalistic ennui. A sad kind of acceptance.
But! There is a silver lining to my little cloud of writerly doom. I have a feeling, for no good reason whatsoever, that this phobia (or whatever it is) will pass. I have a feeling that not only will the ability to face the white screen come back to me, someday, but the joy of writing, the obsession of it, will come back, too.
I just hope it doesn’t take too long. I don’t want this cage getting too comfortable.