My fear came true. After more than a year of writing my weekly blog, Musing for Meaning, the deadline is looming and I have nothing to say. Zilch. Zippo. Nada.
It is not often that I am accused of being short on words. My problem is actually quite the opposite. My children beg me to stop talking, and I live with insecurity that I all too often overspeak in social situations (make that any situation). I like to talk. A lot. And I have ideas, thoughts and feelings that I like to share. Sue me. Fortunately, I found a job that allows for that (best part about writing is that it is one way . . . I can talk all I want on paper!). And to supplement, I am a professional speaker (ha!). I actually get paid to talk. Dream come true.
I actually get paid to talk. Dream come trueSo, you can see my dilemma as I sit at the computer with no idea what to write about. I finally caved, and posted on my Facebook wall that I had writer’s block and was in desperate need of suggestions. And boy, did they start coming in. Great ones. But they didn’t help. They actually overwhelmed me, and reminded me how many important topics I haven’t written about. But none that I could just write about on the spot.
And then someone posted that I should write about writer’s block. And so, here you go.
What does it mean to have writer’s block? Is it really ever possible that we have nothing to write about? There is an entire world happening around us. So much to learn from. So much to incorporate into our thinking and feeling. Which is where the “block” part comes in. It really is me. There is so much happening around, but I am just not open to it. I am not a vessel. Because I haven’t made the room for ideas to enter in, they can’t then come back out through the pen (or keyboard).
Along with my request for topic suggestions, I got a few great links to ridding oneself of writer’s block. One of them suggested that the way to break through the rut is actually to stop thinking and start experiencing. Change your environment. Let your mind wander. Listen to other perspectives. Be around other creative people. Basically, the way to unblock something is to clean it out, to make room and space for something new.
But then, what exactly is blocking me? Thoughts? Feelings? Fears? Boredom? All of the above? If I am closed, for whatever reason, there will be no output. But even once I let in some room, I need to first fill again before I can give out. And that is a lesson I need to reteach myself over and over again.
I like to do. I like to give. I like to be busy. Because when I am, I don’t have time to really worry or contemplate or think. I don’t need to reevaluate if I don’t stop. I don’t need to wonder if I am spending my time wisely, if I don’t have the time to wonder. But there are times when our mind doesn’t let any more in, because it needs us to think about what is already there.
I like to be busy. Because when I am, I don’t have time to really worry or contemplate or thinkAnd then there are times when there just isn’t anything to say . . . yet. It ebbs and flows. I have written a few articles in a week, when I couldn’t even process without that outlet of writing, and then weeks go by and I don’t seem to get out a word. So far, I have balanced the timetable so that it didn’t pressure me like it is now. But it eventually caught up. Deadline. No article. Stress.
So, I am not going to allow myself to stress. I am going to allow myself to recognize that I need to take some time to think through what I think. To think through what I feel. And to think through before I say something just for the sake of saying it.
This writer’s block has been quite helpful in making me stop. And I have no doubt that many of the pieces to come will be a result of not being able to write one now. But wait . . . then what is this? Hmmm, a piece about the merits of having nothing to write. Definitely my speed. Even when I have nothing to say, I manage to take 742 words to express it!
While I appreciate the candor of your article, in my humble opinion, it could have benefited from a thesis statement and being more concise. I believe what you were trying to convey is that ChaBaD principle could be applied to our daily activities, including writing; namely once you have an idea (chochma), you need to contemplate on it (binah), and then digest and internalize it (daat). Only then you can optimally act on it – in your case write an article. If this indeed is the thesis of your article, in my opinion, an average reader would have benefited by being presented with it.
Thank You for your consideration.
I guess my question to you would be, a) what is the topic, and b) what's been going on in the last week or two of your life? Maybe there's a hint in there somewhere?
Once, I wrote something that was dreck because I was uninspired. Truly, so bad. Just writing to get it done (motivated by a fear of deadline). The moment of inspiration came when I revised. HaShem put the right spin in my head. It turned out much, much better.