You ever heard of Seth Godin?
He has quickly become one of my favorite writers.
This weekend, I listened to Mr. Godin as a guest on the Moment Podcast. During this episode he speaks briefly on the subject of “writer’s block”. He says that writer’s block was not termed until the early 1940’s. Before this time, there were very few people who wrote for a living. Those who wrote, did so because they loved writing.
This caused me to think deeply. The kind of deep thinking where I leave the driveway, heading for Walgreen’s, and wake up an hour later in Arkansas. The kind of thinking that would be beneficial if I really used it to solve any problems or acquire any knowledge, but I don’t. I usually just go into deep thought, and then forget what in the hell I was thinking about. Fortunately, I text myself whenever I have a thought or an idea. 100% of the time, after each text that I send myself, when the phone dings, I immediately get excited and look back down at my phone to see who has texted me. Where was I?
Oh yeah…”Writer’s Block”
It doesn’t exist. It’s not really a thing. It is right up there with Big Foot and Unicorns. It is a thing that we tell ourselves, because it sounds sexier than the truth. Writer’s block is nothing more than a fear of moving forward. It is a grasp to perfect your words to make them presentable to the public. It is a situation where you start concerning yourself with what other people are going to think about what you write, and the self-doubt causes paralysis. It is not a condition, it is more of a shame.
As I sit here typing (deleting, then re-typing), I do not always know the BEST words to write, but there are always words. There is always something to be said. That something can always be made better, and sometimes we search so hard to find the better words that it keeps us from progressing. Even worse, sometimes the paralysis that comes with the concern of what other people think, prevents us from creating at all. But, if we are calling a spade a spade, THAT is fear, not a condition. Writer’s block is not a condition which prevents words from going to paper, it is a mindset that makes us scared to apply those words.
Keep in mind, I tell myself that I have writer’s block a dozen times per week. I honestly do. I dramatically throw my hands in the air, let out a gasp, and actually say the words, “writer’s block”. I do this when I can’t arrange the words in the order in which I think will best suit YOU…not me…YOU. I concern myself with what you think about my writing, not what I think about it. So, essentially I am blocked by insecurity, self-doubt, and fear, not writing.
Believe it or not, this post has nothing to do with writing, and more to do with self-honesty. I began writing this because of my observing how I like to conveniently label my character flaws and put them in baskets that have a cooler, tougher, sexier names- names that don’t include insecurity or fear.
I equate writer’s block with saying that I am “stuck” in life. While I do believe that there are situations which stick people in temporary positions, I do not believe that we are ever “stuck” in life, as a whole. Life is too dynamic, and contains too many variables to be totally out of options. It is like going to Vegas and saying that there was “nothing to do”. Having had tears streaming from my face, withering from internal pain, and crying until it hurts, I know what it looks like to believe that one is “stuck”. Looking back, I was the farthest thing from stuck, and was actually free in every way. I was friggin scared! I was scared, not stuck. I lacked faith, courage, and willingness to take action. I was afraid of failure, scared to death of the results that would manifest from moving forward. Concerned of what the outside world would think of me, if my next move didn’t work out well. So yeah, I was concerned, uncertain, and afraid, but not “stuck”.
There are always words to be written, a song to be sung, and an action to be implemented. There is seldom the staircase, but there is always a step. The novel is distant, but the sentence is near. The result is the future, but the work comes right now. It is all opportunity. The bad relationship, the crappy job, the class that your failing, your kids misbehaving, and the words that are jumbled. This is where the excitement begins, the result of the product.
Keep your head up. Have some hope. To quote Henry Rollins,
“whether it’s an audience of five or fifty thousand, you have to go out there and give them your best. And if you can’t give them your best, then give them your worst…but you must give them something.”
Give it to them.
Give it to them.
Again, give it to them.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,