It happens to the best of us who have applied fingers to a keyboard or pen to paper. That nasty maladie known as writer’s block.
Even though I write on an almost daily basis for this publication, I haven’t really penned my own words for a long time.
Not to disparage the work of that endangered breed known as a reporter, hardworking as they are and under appreciated (is my bias showing?, but I tend to write other people’s words and ideas, not my own…Well, except in this monthly column space.
I usually take the source material – often from those other under-appreciated beings known as artists – and attempt to translate what they want to say in a quasi-coherent way.
I cross my fingers that I succeed and thank them for their knowledge. And I’m glad there is still a forum for people to get their words and thoughts out there to the public.
However, my own words haven’t come to the surface since I was in university.
They used to flow out of me through journaling when I was in high school and when I studied writing at the post-secondary level. I used to unburden what was in my head, and in my observances, to the page. I even wrote poetry – not good poetry (everything was so dark back then), but poetry nonetheless.
In a few of my classes, that writing was read by my contemporaries in group critiques.
Handing over your most personal work to a virtual stranger can be a petrifying experience. The outcome can either be helpful or horribly misunderstood. But most writers eventually need readers.
The feedback would often come back scrawled in red pen across my manuscripts: “good passage,” “what does this mean?” “show, don’t tell,” “you sound suicidal…”
Still, these were people reading my mind – the dark reaches and the light space in between.
I even kept some of those manuscripts, editing warts and all, with the hopes that one day I would get back to them.
It’s been more than 15 years since I graduated from an educational institution, and I’ve just recently started digging up that old writing looking for something, anything, to get me started again.
I’ve wanted to unloosen this blockage that has stopped me writing for me all these years.
Luckily, I’ve had some incredible encouragement as of late.
A few years back, I was introduced to a group of women who are all working writers in one form or another. Through words, laughter, sorrow and shared and differing experiences, and wine, lots of wine, they have been an incredible source of inspiration to me.
Comparable to a hub of a wheel, with the spokes representing each of us, my sisters in scribe have shown me that I have stories to tell through my writing. We have done this together through various exercises such as writing prompts, reading each other’s manuscripts, and they have even managed to get me up to read my own poetry, in prose form, in front of an audience.
As someone with massive stage fright, it was a terrifying yet rewarding experience.
Grateful to be included, honoured to read their works and receive support to write my own, that blockage is slowly being drained word by word.
For those who have the same condition, finding a supportive group can be a blessing.