I haven’t written anything personal or leisurely in years and when asked why I always had an answer ready: I have a crippling writer’s block. The excuse rolled out of my mouth and out into the Universe so smoothly, that any other reasoning couldn’t possibly resonate and it absolved me from the painful truth; I was lazy.
My beautiful brick wall
Now, it is crucial that you understand that this writer’s block became the cornerstone of my inability to live what I have always believed to be my purpose here on our beloved planet Earth. I constructed a brick wall in my mind and pictured myself on the wrong side of it in a derelict, wordless dystopia. Notice how I just painted a grim picture and then, try to reconcile how I could have been comfortable there for so long. It doesn’t make sense, does it?
I made countless attempts at lifting myself over my carefully constructed brick wall. First, I went all the way Ernest Hemmingway and decided that I needed some liquid inspiration. Surely, a glass of wine and/or whisky would get the creative juices flowing (worst cliche ever). As you would rightly predict, this was highly unsuccessful and all I had to show for it was a litany of terribly constructed, incoherent sentences and even more painful hangovers. I definitely needed a better approach.
No longer an analogue girl
Secondly, I started carrying a notebook so I could pen any inspired words or thoughts that hit me in the day. I have no clue where that notebook is and I am certain I never opened it. If I am to be entirely honest, pen and paper no longer do it for me and my handbag couldn’t deal with the extra weight – damn you, Louis.
An ode to the classics
I then decided that my lack of inspiration must be the result of not reading as much as I used to. I began to read classics like The God of Small Things and Pride and Prejudice so I could retrace my steps to the beginning of my fierce love affair with the written word. I’ll tell you this much; I drank every word in like it was the first time and picked up another book, then the next until I began to develop writer’s envy and convinced myself I wasn’t worthy of calling myself one. Tough times.
This week, I decided to resume my search for inspiration. I went onto the Thrive Global website, literally typed ‘inspiration’ into the search bar and came across the article that read like a very warm slap across the face: Why Inspiration is a Dangerous Myth by Oliver Pearson. In a nutshell, Mr Pearson exposed me to myself – the audience I fear the most. The words “sure, it reads nicely as a [sic] poetry, but in practical terms [sic] it generates nothing but laziness” had me reeling! After a sharp intake of breath and a few cigarettes, I came to realize that he had hit the nail on the head.
Big girl panties
I had been romanticizing my process (or lack thereof) as a writer and it wasn’t cute anymore. My search for the ever-elusive inspiration was, in fact, laziness and the glaring refusal of accountability. I was making excuses and I needed to grow up and get on with it or move on and accept that I just won’t write anymore unless it’s for work. The latter was unimaginable so I put my big girl panties on, opened a blank page on Word and now here we are. Was that so hard? All I did was begin!
Reunited and it feels so good
What I’m getting to is that the creative process can be hard enough without creating barriers. You don’t need hacks and liquid inspo, you just need to want to pour it all out – and want it badly. I appreciate Mr Pearson for his article because it reunited me with my first love.
Wait… Inspiration? Was that you?