Lately, I’ve been blocked. Pretty severely. When my therapy turned to working through my issues with compulsive behavior and addiction, my therapist and I decided that we needed to look through my life and try to pinpoint experiences or incidents that might be relevant. Experiences that were formative, that awakened certain feelings or sensations.
My treatment has involved a lot of revisiting past trauma and abuse, feeling those emotions and sensations well up from corners of my mind that I thought were closed off. Needless to say, even after six weeks of intensive talk therapy combined with EMDR and meditation, I’m still feeling pretty raw. Revelations about my gender are also not exactly lessening the mental strain.
Days are going at about the same pace as they were previously. I’m actually getting more done since kicking my old habits. It’s just that I’m doing all of this stuff while also devoting even more energy to thinking, talking, and processing every new development and traumatic experience running through my head. Currently, I’m sleeping less, not eating as much as I should, and generally feeling confused and anxious.
My fitness is still the same. I’m getting up earlier and getting more done, and I’m still putting time over to write each working day.
The content is what has changed. I can journal, no problem—I’m on my way to filling three moleskines with personal writing and thoughts on other things. I can pound out a few thousand words devoted to examining my feelings and desires in less than thirty minutes. Words just pour out of me without issue.
Until I turn to fiction. It has just not been happening lately. I can have as many ideas as I want, and outline and plot and free write the hell out of them for days on end, but when it comes time to sit down and turn all of that preliminary work into real, drafted story, I choke up. I fumble over my word choices. I delete entire paragraphs, go back and fill spelling errors that I would have let sit previously. My writing time gets too far into describing every minuscule piece of nonsense about a scene, and when the timer is up, I haven’t even gotten to what this particular story even involves! The alarm blares, and I’ve gotten less than 500 words down in a half-hour, and I only like about 100 of them.
I know I’m off my game, but I can’t help but feel a little anxious and depressed. Frustrated, annoyed, angry, infuriated—those too. My anxiety is getting the best of me right now, but I know that there’s no way to get past it other than working through. I’m letting all of this stuff suck the fun out of writing, letting it make me forget why I started doing this in the first place.
I want to tell stories. I want to figure out who I am. I want to create something that I love, and share that love with you. I want the joy I took in making something to be the joy you experienced reading it. Sometimes life gets in the way of that, and I’m learning that right now. I just have to remember why I do what I do, and use that to guide me.
So don’t worry. I’m still writing. I’m still scratching out words, thirty minutes at a time, trying my best to keep hold of that little spark that keeps me going. You, the reader, are a big part of that, and one of the reasons I’m still pounding my head against this particular wall, stubborn in my belief that I can do this and do it well.