Writer’s block

Evening photo of a half-hidden swan in the canal.
This post is about

The writing of this post is intentional. At least it’s more intentional than others. I’m facing a writer’s block so I’m writing this in order to see what’s going on and get unstuck.

Now that the first steps of writing for an audience are done (writing and sending drafts to friends, getting feedback, setting up my blog and making it public) here comes doubt. The excitement of the new is gone and even if I have a list of stuff I want to write about, I don’t seem to feel the same force, passion and flow I felt before.

I experience this block mentally, emotionally and physically. On a mental level, I keep getting distracted. For example this morning, even if I decided to devote the day on writing, I woke up, did my morning routine and as I sat down on my desk I checked social media and dating apps, started replying to messages and browsing mindlessly. When I became aware of it I opened WordPress and I was faced with the emotional and physical part of the block. It’s actually hard to differentiate the two. Is that anger I’m feeling? Frustration? Maybe some impatience? I feel like screaming really loud and jumping up and down fast (I just did). On a physical level I can feel a sharp sensation in the centre of my chest. It just feels tense – as if there’s a lid firmly covering a pot full of steam. There’s this sense of trapped energy that wants to be released. Would that energy be creativity? And what’s stopping it?

So writing is not a fresh, exciting thing anymore – it doesn’t feel like a hobby or something to do for fun. I mean, I’m in a sense enjoying writing this right now because it helps me figure out what’s going on but I’m finding the thought of writing about other things hard work. And the truth is that it is hard work – it requires a good amount of energy and concentration. It also requires depth, especially because of the type of writing I do. That sort of depth is not always available. I can’t for example write after I’ve done computer programming work as it’s something I mainly use my head for and I’m in a different headspace. Writing in the morning, after meditation or exercise is usually better. Evenings could be good too but usually I’m too tired from work and admin stuff.

Last month I didn’t write almost anything at all for most part of it. The four pieces I wrote, I wrote them within a week. At the start of that week I had a sex date with someone who I connected pretty well with and boom! the creative gates opened up. Last weekend I took part in a sex-related workshop and again I felt pretty open and excited and started thinking more about what I want to write. But I didn’t sit myself down to write. Even if I could see there’s a link between sexual energy and the flow of creativity, I could also see another part of the block: money.

This is hard to talk about because my situation is quite privileged compared to most people. My job is usually a well paid one and even if I’m not money-rich, I’m time-rich. Even if the tech job market is much more in favour of perfectionists, for the past few years I’ve been pretty stable and flexible as a freelancer, earning the necessary but having a lot of free time for self-care, self-development and now a hobby. In theory I should just shut up and get on with it but I’m I’m finding hard to devote time on something that won’t bring in cash. Writing is so unrelated to my main profession and I can’t think of any way it could actually help me earn more. In fact, I’m scared that if potential clients find out about my writing, they won’t want to hire me.

I think this has to do a lot with being raised and socialised as a man. My dad was the bread-earner – and that was his main role in the family – and so were most men I looked up to while growing up. Even if, unlike a lot of greek parents, my pals never interfered directly with what I wanted to do in life, seeing them only worrying about whether I’ll have a stable job and a stable, secure income had a big impact on me. I’m not saying that having a job, money and living a comfortable life is not important – it is and it’s actually the basis for developing everything else. But in my experience as a man, I felt great societal and parental pressure to focus on those, while other important qualities such us the ability to connect and form community, emotional development and creativity were ignored.

But here I am now writing about not being able to write, which is a pretty amusing paradox in itself. Curiosity, sitting with it, exploring it – seems to be a good antidote for it.

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