I am feeling drained of words. I am feeling drained of opinions.
As an aspiring writer, this is not good.
For the last week or so, I have not seen the stories in the little things. I have not been mindful of the days going on around me. But I am also tired of the words and opinions I find around me on the interwebs. Which is where I spend a lot of my time lately. I miss my physical friends. I miss real laughter. I am beginning to hate interweb shorthand, but find myself continually drawn to the virtual looking glass.
For the last few weeks I have been participating in an online ‘PathFinder’ course. Its purpose, as I saw it, was to detect your passions among all the things you actually do all day and find a way to pursue them more regularly, more mindfully, and in the process find a creative path for yourself. A feel good course, as my mom calls it. And it was working, I was writing everyday and becoming more and more convinced that I could be a writer and explorer in my own way.
Then the words stopped. I had no more words. I had no more stories to tell.
Maybe I should be more clear. I have stories to tell. I have stories I am contractually obligated to tell. I have no words. I have no ideas about how to gain words. I do not see a place to start.
This is not good.
I decided to try a different tack. A different approach with different tools. Usually, I write on the keyboard and pretty much free-flowing. I type because I can type faster than I can write and I can proofread as I go. But as anyone who writes knows, the blank open document is daunting. There are of course tricks to diminish the daunting: copy and paste previous attempts to fool the brain into thinking you have already begun and just need to pick up a thread and keep weaving, type out the prompt/assignment/abstract/subject line in the blind hope it will trigger some pithy thought that can then be spun for a few lines until the juices start flowing, play with fonts and sizes and colours until the proposed title looks pretty and maybe the design element sparks the literary element, physically move yourself and your computer to a different setting (with no internet connection).
I tried all these, it’s not working.
Then I decided to sit down with paper and pen and see what happened. Journaling is an integral part to this course and has always been part of my coping and ‘working through’ process, so why not try to journal the story and see what happens. The journal atmosphere can be a bit more freeing than typing. There can be arrows and side-notes and scribbles and cross outs. It is more visual and more easily creative and flowing than left-clinking, track changing, shape inserting word processing. At least for me.
I find it is also a way to slow down the thinking and allow for a little more composition rather than hit and run typing. You can work on your penmanship. The letters connecting become a bit of an art. The words get messy when the ideas flow, when the idea is just forming the words are each a little piece of art, each a variation on a theme leading to the next idea. Eventually they make a page of vacillating, oscillating prose. The shadow of the pen and the words on the page simultaneously spill from the pen on a sunny day, so rare now. Just like the writing. So rare now.
I still feel like I have no words. No stories to tell. No opinions to make. But I am putting pen to paper and focusing on the process, looking for new inspiration, hoping a product comes eventually. Leaving the house, engaging in the world.
It’s all I can do.
**despite my writers' block, I recommend the Path Finder for a fun few weeks of introspection. It won't necessarily change your life but it could highlight a way to change your life, if you so desire. You also are given an excuse to break out the crayons and markers, as if you need an excuse.