Doer’s Block

Have you ever had that feeling where you’re about bursting with creativity, but not in the mood to write?

No? Just me?

I can’t be the only one. I have those moments all the time, where I have all these really great story ideas, and characters coming out of my ears, but as soon as I sit down to write them all out, I think of a million other things that I could be doing — or even worse, that I want to be doing. Or, even worse, it is suddenly two hours later and I didn’t even do any of those things, and I still didn’t write the fully-formed idea in my head.

img_1227I suppose, in a way, that it’s a weird form of writer’s block, except that I think writer’s block is supposed to center around not having anything to write, and this seems to be the opposite (don’t worry, guys, I get that too, all the time). I have heard it labelled as procrastination, but that is just the symptom, not the disease… When there is a magic inside, waiting to be done, and something is blocking it from escaping, that’s not procrastination. Nor is it writer’s block. No, what we have here is a case of doer’s block.

I know my story. I know the bits and pieces of it, and all I have to do is stitch them together. So why don’t I just write the damn story? Why don’t I just do it?

Though “doer’s block” draws the offense of being too akin to a Nike slogan, it does hold some resonance in my heart, and I hope maybe in yours as well. Maybe not about writing, specifically. If you were to tell me that nothing comes to mind when thinking of things that you’d like to do and are capable of doing but just haven’t, then you would most certainly be lying. There is always that one underlying passion that never gets exercised, that one thought that never gets voiced — that one thing that you procrastinate from doing without really understanding why.

These past few weeks, I’ve felt my creative side peeking through a little bit more (hence why last week’s post was more narrative than an article). But in trying to apply that creativity, I’ve noticed myself veering away from the projects that I get most excited about. Instead, I come up with short little quips that sound nice and look pretty but don’t, at least in my heart, have any lasting impression. Every time I write one of these blurbs, I think, you fool, just follow your heart.

Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s a fear of screwing up the thing that you idolize in your head. Maybe you don’t think the outcome will be worth the risk, or you feel that you’ll just be wasting time. Maybe you even think you’ll be laughed at.

I’m not just talking about my writing now. I’m talking about you (after all, what’s a little self-agony if I can’t take everyone else down with me?).

Here’s the way I look at it, and I know it’s a cliche: if you have one muscle of passion that you have never gotten the chance to flex, then the longer it’s sedentary, the harder it’s going to be to get in shape. It is not going to turn out right the first time (or if it does, please, give me your secret). It is going to suck, just a little. But this is something you are passionate about. Why are you going to give up on something that brings that much joy to your heart, so easily? It will take time, but the more you flex that muscle, the better it will be.

And, you don’t always have to publicize your first few attempts. Hone, baby! And then show the world your magic.

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