I have been suffering with the worst case of writer’s block. Not just on this blog, but in everything I’ve been trying to do. This move to Canada has given me the opportunity to devote myself to creative pursuits. Since I’m not working full-time (not by choice, FYI, I’d much rather be fully employed at the moment), I told myself that I would focus on what would make me truly happy. For me, this means writing something longer than a short story. It means actually writing a novel.
Just putting that out there is really scary for me. It means that I am admitting out loud that this is something I want to do. It has always been my big audacious goal and yet I have been so preoccupied with other things over the past few years that I’ve let it fall by the wayside. I’ve used work and school as reasons that I could never fully devote myself to writing anything worth reading.
Now that I have the time, I have no excuses. I could actually do this if I made it a priority. The only catch? I think I’ve read too much. As someone with a background in book publishing and a masters in library science, I think it’s safe to say that I am pretty devoted to reading. There is nothing I love more than curling up with a good book. When something is good, I devour it. When something isn’t so good, I finish it anyway (I’ve been told life is too short to waste time reading things you don’t like, but I can’t not finish reading something I start. It’s a sickness).
With all of this reading under my belt, you’d think that I’d have lots of sources of inspiration. That’s true to an extent. The only catch is that I keep stopping myself from pursuing ideas if I have any inkling that something like it exists in the marketplace. As a once-upon-a-time editorial assistant at both a literary agency and two large publishers, my mind often gets clouded by the business side of things. Is this idea marketable? Has it been done before? This is a horribly dangerous way of thinking because it focuses on the end result rather than the process. I shouldn’t be worried about whether or not I could sell this book I haven’t written. I should just be writing for the sake of writing at this point! The final outcome shouldn’t play a role.
So many of my days recently have been spent sitting down on my couch, brainstorming ideas and shooting them down one by one. Then I get nervous about the fact that I can’t come up with anything original. Then I start getting mad at myself for wasting all of this potential writing time by being anxious. It’s a vicious cycle that ultimately leads me to give up for the day, only to begin the process again. I am the best at making myself feel the worst.
I don’t know what happend this morning, though. Something changed. I sat down for some stream-of-consciousness rambling on my laptop and then out of no where it just kind of hit me. An idea that I’m actually excited about! I have so far tamed my impulse to Google the shit out of this idea because I know that if I find anything remotely similar it will squash all creativity. I’m just going to run with it because I know that’s what’s best. I want to finish something for once without being my own worst critic. For better or worse, this story is mine and I think I owe it to myself to tell it.