Shut up and Write

I’m happy to report that I’m just on the other side of a whole-life writers block. I was uninspired, unmotivated, and kind of stuck. The worst part is, I’ve been doing this long enough that I could spot the demons miles away. Procrastination, undue pressure, overthinking. Talking with anyone who would listen about how I was stuck. Did I mention procrastination? I did research, but didn’t write. I’d start writing, but didn’t finish. My deadline was too far in the future to panic, too close to put it aside and come back later. Which then spiraled into a sense of lameness that I hadn’t achieved anything, and bled into the rest of my life.

Crafting the right words, even better if they’re funny words, in a profound and compelling way, lights me up. But starting a bunch of half-assed scripts that don’t go anywhere makes me feel unfulfilled and hugely disappointed in myself. Which then makes me be all passive aggressive and sullen. And an absolute party ball of fun to be around. Just ask my husband!

It seemed my writer’s block was cleared randomly, like a clog of hair in a drain that finally broke free. (Yum.) But it retrospect, it wasn’t random at all. I was texting with a writer-friend, whom I greatly admire, about advice to give a junior writer. And he said, (because he always gives you the credit of having the great ideas) “You probably said what I would say. Shut up and write.”

Those words came back to me, and I realized what was really holding me back. I was thinking too much, listening to the chatter in my head, and writing too little. Editing too much and stream of consciousness writing not enough (until now, apparently, based on that sentence.) Stream of consciousness writing not enough? WTF. Please don’t quote me on that when I run for president in the year 20NEVER.

Anyway, I’ve been too worried about perfection and not enough about getting words down on paper. Which has always been my issue. This blog took a year to launch, and when it did I had five painstakingly written and re-written posts. I’ve since added a couple, still pining over every word, joke, analogy, imagined pause and punctuation mark. And then I read a lot of things out there and I’m so disappointed. Sure, there are great, amazing, sharp, witty pieces I love and wish I’d written. But there are so many others that have gone viral and aren’t funny, particularly insightful, or even well-crafted. But then I realized these people post A LOT of shit. All the time. It’s a numbers game. What I’m doing is the equivalent of waiting for a shooting star to snap a picture, where these other writers have their aperture open and are just waiting for the star to cross in front of their lens. Or some other metaphor that works way better.

Plus, I must remind myself that the point of a blog for me was always to simply have an outlet to write, unencumbered by :30 time constraints and client mandatories, not to post the Top Five Ways to Calm a Rabid Squirrel. (You wanna read that, don’t you?) Sorry. Not here.

So basically, this long, rambling diatribe is the hair that was stuck in the drain. Thanks to my friend, I’ve stopped thinking so hard (for now) and took his advice that I knew in my heart.

Just shut up and write.