Everyone writes. Teachers demand sheets of organized black lines on routine and treasured job holders covet cover letters. Everything in this world is built upon the rhythmic clicks of a keyboard or the smooth lines drawn from granite, chalk and ink. Fingers sweating beneath the buzzing gaze of a backlight compile financial reports and propaganda pieces. Amongst the seas of fingers sliding across little tiled letters we lose the crucial knowledge that writing is not simply necessity, but at heart an art. Even in the raised register of academia, everything written belongs to the author. I always maintain that I give a teacher a paper, but the nature of writing dictates that that paper is still mine. I simply released it into the world.
After running through the incessant scribbling of a day’s work there might come a moment when the fingers scorn the keyboard. Constantly, we write for things, for grades, for jobs, for other people. Upon passing some inordinate threshold, some line drawn in stressful sands, the thought of pounding each key rouses a terrible headache. Not a sentence can find approval from a jumbled and judgmental thought process. Massive tangles of preconceptions swab the page in mire that no thought could stand in. Am I formal enough? Did I organize this paragraph correctly? Is that phrasing awkward? Writer’s block might seem more noticeable to creative writers, but plenty of people just want to finish that paper, only to find they can hardly dream up a proper sentence. Endless swirls of vicious thoughts tear asunder our work. I wait until the crack of dawn to start on some delirious writing just so that my mind might be dulled enough to let me have a few words before it begins spellchecking.
I have no miracle cure for writer’s block. Even the four A.M. sessions of frenzied writings can fail. You can find lists of ways to defeat the beast of bad brains on the internet, but every method is subjective in the end. The truth is that there is no exit strategy to the quagmire of writer’s block. When you get tangled up in your objective, beaten by your own thesis, you may be stuck. Although, I find that most every day we write for objectives. I know that even my creative writings have goals that loom in the distance. We take time to forget about our goals perhaps by playing a videogame, hanging out with friends, or just lounging on a nice patch of grass beneath the press of a warm sun. However, it is not so difficult to place all those long-term longings beneath a layer of printer paper.
If it all you feel the need to escape all the aspirations and realities vexing you then try out this recommendation of mine. Remove some CD from your shelf that inspires you. Grab something that will stir you, but not direct you. Pop in your noise canceling headphones and just start writing. Just freely style whatever it is you feel like writing, whatever images might pop into your head or sentences might rouse you. Ignore how great or terrible you think you are at it. Ignore awkward phrases and poor grammar. Shed off any ideas of presentations and publications. Search for something instinctual, interesting and entirely for yourself. I run off instrumentals, dynamic pieces and sometimes a first listen to a band I’ve never head, but everyone’s tastes differ. All that matters is that you do not set anything out for yourself, you just scribe whatever it is the music brings you. I am no therapist or specialist but I know we pour ourselves out onto pages designed for others, so if you have the time, take a moment to explore yourself with a piece of music and a sheet of paper.
Cerebrally Yours, Austin R Ryan