Monday, 3 March 2014

Now We Are 28: On Writer's Block

I'm really struggling with blogging at the moment and I have been for a while. The reason I started this "Now We Are 28" thread was as a way of getting back into writing, something I have always loved doing, but I've struggled so much more than I thought I would. I either have nothing to say or no confidence in what I'm writing which is weird considering I never bloody shut up and consider writing one of my core skills. 

So why am I feeling like this? For a start I'm definitely out of the habit of writing anything. I used to spend a lot of time writing both personally and professionally - I did a history degree for goodness sake, if I wasn't reading some mouldy old tome I was writing about why I agreed or disagreed with the author of said mouldy old tome. I was also a very angsty teenager (and twenty-something) with a penchant for keeping diaries chronicling my dating disasters and emotional dilemmas. Nowadays I have a job that seldom requires me to write anything original and virtually zero emotional angst. Does that mean I have nothing to say? Well obviously not, as anyone who's ever got me drunk and asked me about politics or feminism or The Smiths or people's attitudes to cyclists (and so on) will attest. Do I write this stuff down? Not really. Why not? Um... 

Often I have my best thoughts when I'm out walking the dog or cycling to work and so when I come to try and write them down my ideas seem to vanish like smoke. I'm not writing to any purpose, I don't have any particular desire to have my blog read by thousands of people or to become a Guardian columnist. I just want to occasionally empty my head of the thoughts which buzz around in there. So why do I struggle to commit words to (virtual) paper so much? Partly I think because I'm my own worst critic - I have about ten half written posts for this blog that I've dismissed as too boring, too personal or too ranty. These days everyone writes and there's always a little voice at the back of my mind that asks "what's the point? What have you got to add?" 

I don't know the answer to that question. But maybe I don't have to add anything, maybe I can just write for my own reasons. I've never known how to silence that voice in my head that tells me I'm not good enough but maybe it's time to learn how.

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