I feel stuck in the blogging world.
For as little as I post, a surprising amount of time is spent thinking of things I can and should be writing here. Yet every time I sit down to type something up, I get stuck. And it isn’t just the blog. The play I’ve been writing for the past few months has me stumped too.
Jose Rivera wrote in his “36 Assumptions about Writing Plays” that a writer should:
Embrace your writer’s block. It’s nature’s way of preserving trees and your reputation. Listen to it and try to understand its source. Often writer’s block happens because somewhere in your work you’ve lied to yourself and your subconscious won’t let you go any further until you’ve gone back, erased the lie, stated the truth and started over.
He also wrote:
If you’re not prepared to risk your entire reputation every time you write, then it’s not worth your audience’s time.
And that is an intimidating statement.
There are plenty of posts on here that are riddled with non-reputation risking writing as well as lies that block my ability to write the way that I want to.
Yet I can’t quite find the source.
Recently I’ve made a new friend who enjoys coffee and conversation apparently as much as I do. Almost every invitation to spend time together involves a cup of coffee and piece of chocolate, as well as a strange dose of self-analysis. I’ve realized how difficult it is for me to vocalize the things I feel and how shallow so much of my conversation and writing has become. So often during our conversations I have to go into my pensive place to consider a real answer and find that I am lacking the words that I want to express myself.
How can language be so limiting? Are the lies creating the writer’s block coming from a lack of accurate words or are they from a confusion of where I stand on the subjects that arise?
Or maybe it’s from the fear to write about the topics that come up over the coffee. I could talk for days about how nice it is to enjoy coffee with a friend or loved one, the satisfaction that comes from a perfectly produced latte, the feeling that comes with enjoying a warm cup alone on a rainy afternoon. However, nowhere in my writing do I get down to the gritty questions that are being addressed over that same cup.
Don’t be afraid to attempt the great themes: death, war, sexuality, identity, fate, God, existence, politics, love.
A nice thought, Jose, but how can I write about things I can barely discuss?
Maybe it was fate that made me meet my new coffee mate. Perhaps my identity is less impacted by the coffee in my cup and more by the person on the other side of the table and the conversation about our existence. It’s possible that sexuality is inextricable from a sort of political system, and maybe it’s possible to love without knowing how that system functions. And yet, maybe not. I’d like to think that God brings people into our lives to challenge our faith and values, but how much of a hand does He have in every interaction?
I don’t know the answers. So do I erase everything in an attempt to find the lie, or do I not write until I know the truth? Or do I just give up and go drink more coffee instead?