Some days it’s really hard to sit down and write something not because it’s been a terrible day or there’s nothing to write, but simply because the flow doesn’t come. I wouldn’t even necessarily call it writer’s block because on days like this (for me, at least) there are a number of topics rolling around in my head, but one of which I seem to feel motivated to expand on. The topics themselves are valid and thought-provoking, but perhaps it’s worth noting that some days are meant more for thought than for actual writing.
That said though, I still think that endeavoring to write every day helps the mind (again, it’s at least true for me) explore new concepts even when we’re not focused on them. The importance of writing is more about taking the mass of concepts in one’s head and attempting to unravel them for an outsider’s perspective. Thus I think that even on the hardest days, it’s still important to force anything out and onto the page simply to see what comes of it. Many times that’s really the only way we are able to see something in a more concrete context, rather than leaving it as an amorphous thought left to float inside one’s head.
As the writer’s block seems to continue, thoughts dance through my head that anyone who know’s me would be slightly confused with. Sure, it’s a well-known fact (at least by those who know me) that I’m a huge art, history and music buff, and as such, these are the topics that typically dominate my writing. Even business and tech have come to the forefront of my preferred subject lists, even as I continue to educate myself in them.
What only those closest to me know is my real fascination with things that are well outside the realm of any humanities study. I was never a strong math student; in fact, I hated math. I hated it every day, every night; because it never made sense in my head that there can be only one answer. I was raised by two lawyers—in my world there’s never just one answer. Thus it would follow that as I’ve completed my schooling and graduated from college, I would only interact with math in professionally necessary capacities: taxes, data metrics, simple calculations, etc.
Yet in times when I find the creative juices refusing to flow, times like today, I find my mind drifting back to topics of mathematical thought, and other topics that are most days seemingly beyond my appreciation. Because why should sitting and pondering mathematical principles appeal to me? I struggled every day in grade and high school with it. Want me to write an 8-page essay? No problem, done in a couple hours. Do these 30 math problems? I’ll see you next week.
Perhaps it’s precisely my artistic mindset that drives me to ponder about things like mathematical thought and application—the worst thing for an artist is to feel that you’ve mastered something so much that it’s become stale to your growth. Mastery of any such thing in itself is irrelevant; what matters is how it feels. Am I being challenged or is this a rehashing of what I did yesterday? Thus on day two of my writer’s block, I find myself thinking not of tech trends or the socio-economics of medieval Britain, but of the interconnections of math principles and philosophical thought. Go figure.
Some days, the words flow onto the page very easily, and some day’s they don’t. Today is one of the latter. That said though, even writer’s block itself can be a constructive lesson in writing. It teaches you that even the most adept writer struggles sometimes to come up with a thought process worth putting down for others to read.
But that actually begs a few question about the thought processes we as writers discard as “not good enough.” Are they really not up to par, or is it simply our nature as writers and creators to deride ourselves until we come up with something truly “worth writing?” Just today I’ve discarded numerous ideas for posts because they didn’t seem to be “enough” for me to put out to a readership.
But perhaps that sort of self-critical thought process is in fact too self-critical. Self-criticism is part of the creative process—it’s what we as creators feel helps us push forward to our greatest productions. So perhaps the whole writer’s block demon is indeed a blessing in disguise. Irritating though it might be, it nonetheless helps us to distinguish our sub-par thoughts from the truly remarkable ones. For me, I’ll try to keep a more open mind when it comes to the writer’s block I know will inevitably come back around.