Writer’s block: a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work.
Funk: A state of paralyzing fear; a depressive state of mind.
I’ve had a funky writer’s block for the past couple of weeks. It’s not that I am out of things to say; The day that I am out of things to say is the day my career will end, a very sad day indeed, one I hope is way far off in the distance. I’ve had plenty to say, I’ve just been too wiped to say it. Whenever a thought comes to mind, I quickly lose my ability to express myself. Suddenly, this depressive, kind of exhausting state sets in and I find myself grasping for something to hold onto. Let me put it another way: I don’t know who I am writing for, and that has caused me to shrivel up my inspiration and toss it under the rug.
What exactly does that mean? When I began writing, I was writing solely for myself. I kept diaries and journals, and even blogged a lot (if you dare, check out my blog posts from 2007-08. They’re embarrassing as anything and the grammar is terrible, but at least I was writing), but it was mainly for my own benefit. Writing felt good, it felt right to me. It was a natural part of my life, which made it all the more easy to churn one blog post or diary entry out after the next.
When Shattered Illusions was born in late 2009, I had never written fiction before. At least, I had never written fiction on such a scale before. The truth is, I wasn’t trying to write a novel. I had an idea that I thought would make for a good story. Little did I know that about 3 1/2 years later I would be six weeks away from publishing said novel. The events that brought me to this destination have been spoken of here time and time again, but the miracles of this journey are still relevant now, if not even more so, then they were when I began blogging about my experiences back in September. But, back in high school, when Shattered Illusions first took over my life, I stopped writing for myself. I stopped blogging about the things that I felt were important to me, solely because I thought that no one wanted to hear what I had to say. Perhaps, I thought, if I put my thoughts in novel form (excuse the pun), then maybe people would be interested in hearing what I had to say. I didn’t know where I was going with this idea, but it was a new form of self expression, brought to life by different people with different voices than my own. At the end of the day, however, we share the same voice.
So, now I find myself in an odd stand still. My novel is at the printer. It’s out of my hands. Que sera. I have been handling it pretty well, much better than expected. When I first began talking about and publicizing Shattered Illusions, every question or comment would send me spiraling with anxiety and fear. Now, I can tackle what may come my way with confidence and strength. But, I’m still floating in an odd middle. I am not a published author yet, though I will be very, very soon. I am no longer just ‘Leigh Esther Hershkovich.’ I have a new, shiny title. At twenty-one years old, I can check “have a novel published’ off my list. Here’s the thing: I spent almost three years writing for one medium, and now I find myself without that again. Though I plan to continue working on several novels this summer, right now, I am taking a break to enjoy the final moments I have of calm before Shattered Illusions makes a splash. The question here really is, how do I reclaim inspiration, and make writing about my life and the important things that happen to me as relevant and important as it was for me to write a novel? Where do I find the middle?
It’s not writer’s block, though I would describe it as a funk of sorts. I’m trying to find a middle ground between myself and others. I cannot allow myself to get lost in either extreme. How does one reclaim something lost when it is not physical? How can I reclaim inspiration if I cannot hold it in my two hands? Writing is my greatest passion and the love of my life, but that does not mean that it is always easy. In fact, it is rarely easy; it’s gosh darn difficult. Sometimes writing is all sunshine and daisies, and sometimes I want it to disappear. It’s not always easy to be inspired about the topic at hand. What is the key to inspiration?
In my case, it’s about not making the topic about anyone at all. I’m not writing for you or for me. I am not writing for my mother, my sister, my friend or my editor. I’m not even writing for my publisher. And, I am certainly not writing for myself. I am simply writing what I am given to write. A writer is a vessel (in Hebrew, a Keli) which draws down other worldy emotions and stories into a mundane source. So, that’s what I am. I’m simply a vessel, passing a story from above to below. Whatever happens after the source has left my body is out of my control, and is therefore not ‘about me’ anymore.
Make your passion your life. Just don’t make it about you.