I’m the kind of person who may look like she never try at all, but in fact tries hard, almost always. The most surprising description I always get from close friends and acquaintances is that I’m the carefree, always happy–kind of girl.
But let me tell you now. I’m not.
There are days when I struggle a lot. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I’m not the type to fake smiles and laughter, so if you see me grinning from ear to ear then I must be truly happy. But my face is a give away when I’m frustrated and struggling. I don’t (and can’t) pretend, which is why I always get surprised when people associate me with all these happy adjectives.
My struggles no longer have anything to do with self-esteem issues–praise God–but has everything to do, I think, with my tendencies to be very obsessive-compulsive. I used the word ‘tendency’ because I’m not OC per se, but whenever I do something that I really love–a passion, an art–I would always hope for everything to go smoothly. I’m not a perfectionist, but when I want to do things, I really want them done.
This is especially true when I write.
Let me tell you how I write: I think of an interesting topic, write an outline of the flow of the story, gather as much information as I can while simultaneously writing the article. When I write, I have to do it from start to finish, from the first paragraph up to the last. I don’t skip from one thought to another. When I write, I need to finish one train of thought before going to the next. And if I don’t get to finish the first train of thought, I will not and cannot proceed with the rest of the article.
Lately I’m struggling with getting over writer’s block. You see, the last time I wrote a full-length article was a week or two before I started with my current job last May. I swore I would continue writing while teaching high school students, and I did, but I never got around to writing another full-length article.
So when I took a new assignment, I was really excited about working on it. But I found myself putting it aside for months because of my day job. When I came to pick it up again, I realized I’ve only written my first train of thought.
And I’ve been stuck there ever since.
I used to not believe in writer’s block. You see, with my years of experience in writing reaction papers, research papers, and even blogs, I learned that writing may not always come easily to a writer, but it comes. It still comes after much waiting, and when it comes, it pours. All you need is the ‘Eureka!’ moment, and there it goes: one heck of an article.
Because of my unusual technique in writing, I’m used to waiting. I’m used to waiting for that next train of thought to come. I’m used to letting my mind wander until it chances upon an idea that has never been there before. Once that happens, I grab on to it with all my might.
My waiting game for this story I’m working on is nothing like any I’ve played before. It just has been too long since the last train of thought, you know? I’m getting exhausted thinking about it during my idle hours, and it’s really nerve-wrecking to keep on waiting for something that I need to come now.
I think my problem lies here: I stopped writing. Waiting before has never been this stressful because I’m always writing anyway. I kept writing because it kept me sane during crazy days. I kept writing because it’s when I write that I feel most alive. My heart beats faster than usual, my hands shake in excitement–it’s the feeling of falling in love, every time I write. Every word carefully woven with other words form a sentence full of life. And every sentence written intricately form a paragraph that moves. I can’t explain it, but it’s an art like no other. Just the mere process of writing takes my breath away.
But I stopped writing. I’d always post a blog entry here, but I rarely came up with entries that have actual words. I did not intend to, but it just happened. I just stopped. And I know that to get back to my groove again would take me so much more than just this entry. But this is my start. This is a start, and I’m just warming up.
People are right when they say that one should keep doing what they love doing, especially if it’s art. It’s therapy for days when you’re not exactly in your best condition. It’s beauty when things are ugly, and it’s life when life itself has already sucked life out of you. For me, writing is coming up for air. And because I stopped for months, I swam deeper and deeper into the ocean of the so-called “real life”.
And now I’m coming up for air.
I asked my good writer friends (and Clark buddies) Kai, Jem and Jose to help me get out of this writing slump, and here are their thoughts about it. For when I get stuck again, I’m putting this here to remind me: