Writer’s Block

I recently advised someone that when faced with writer’s block, the best remedy is to write about it. Seems counter-intuitive, but it seems to work for me. My problem though is that I don’t recognise myself as a writer. I vent through words, often carefully selected to maintain the level of neutrality needed in my sentiments so as not to offend many close associates that I was bold enough to invite into this blog space. That, and the fact that I would not want this space to be turned into a sensationalist’s whoring for attention. I think it works beneficially for me because it forces me to focus on the issues at hand, rather than taking an easy swipe at soft targets.

Soft targets, on the other hand, make for an easy solution to writer’s block, if I were a writer, that is. The problem I have with subscribing to that label is that it assumes that I have writing worth sharing, or more importantly, that I do justice to the part. I ramble. A lot. That rambling is often my attempt to make sense of the internal conversations I’m having, while my focus is to articulate it in a way that will make sense to someone witnessing my cycle of insanity, if they were privy to it. So I write the way I think, often without filters, with the exception of the scenario described in the opening paragraph. Whether this is good or bad remains to be seen. But again, it only remains to be seen if it was written for the audience and not primarily for my own sanity.

Thoughts that have threatened to prompt me to write in recent weeks appear to consistently centre around the acquisition of knowledge. I’m caught between the need versus the want of knowing something. I know that one is driven by the ego and the other by sincere curiosity, but the words are so easily interchangeable that it’s difficult to make a definitive observation about it. What I am convinced of though, is the fact that there are times when we demand to know something simply because we feel entitled to the information, or because we wish to use it for ulterior motives. The lesser frequent motivation for acquiring knowledge is because we are genuinely curious and seek to understand, rather than judge. While both have their place, I think there is a significant imbalance leaning towards the former. Given the state we find the world in today, it’s not surprising that most knowledge is acquired for egotistical purposes before anything else.

Perhaps in that is some hint at what would cause the writer’s among us to block. Perhaps writer’s block is what happens to all of us in different ways, whether we’re writers or not. I think that when we lose sight of purpose, we struggle to find reason. In the absence of reason or purpose, we’re most likely to act in response to an expectation rather than to act towards fulfilling a greater purpose. If we’re fortunate, we realise it soon enough and refocus our efforts which clears the mental block that stifled our progress. If we don’t realise it soon enough, chances are that our ego will succeed in clouding our judgement further, and in our efforts to allay our fears of insignificance or incompetence, we play to the audience and slowly erode any sense of purpose we had in what we set out to do simply because we cannot afford to be seen as lacking.

The fact that we may be travelling the same path that we set out on does not necessarily mean that we still take joy or benefit from travelling it. I think there’s an important point in there somewhere. I also just realised that writing about my mental block spawned thoughts that were hardly at the forefront of my mind when I started. I guess the trick is to be able to express without judging yourself first, or without considering if what is to be expressed will be seen as wisdom, or whimsical. I generally don’t care much for the opinions of others, although recently I have been distracted by it from time to time. When that distraction reared its head, I found myself floundering in my ability to be decisive which is a very frustrating place to be.

Re-centering my thought process on what I subscribe to has made the difference between bobbing around aimlessly in the sea of dysfunction around me and setting the current to disrupt that same sea. Disruption is often frowned upon, but usually only by those that lack purpose. Disruption in thought and deed is needed to avoid slipping into a rut of routine while believing we’re part of something great. That something great is usually the energy of the masses that are in that rut with us, while the volume of our collective trudging quickly turns that rut into a trench. The distracted masses then look around and celebrate their time in the trenches as a select few rise to the top and exit the trenches because they became the champions of the dysfunction purely through tenure rather than contribution. It’s the age-old celebration of a struggle. The duration of our struggles is often what defines us, more than our emergence from the same state. It’s the shortest path to pacification of the meek.

The cynic in me is thriving, which is usually a sign that I need to abate and reflect. Introspection is a good place to be. It’s a pity that it is so often disrupted by a need to act on its fruit, where the absence of such action will leave us being as impotent as the foam on the ocean. Writer’s block be gone.

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