Today I want to share with you that I have nothing to share.
Totally. Completely. Unequivocally. Feels-like-an-eternity. Blocked.
I've been feeling like this for almost three weeks now so I decided to share that with you. What a stupid thing to share, right? But, what else could I share when I have essentially nothing interesting, important, noteworthy, or new to say?!
Apparently, I am not alone. In my desperation, I’ve been doing some poking around the interwebs and this is somewhat common for those who write. Not that I am a writer myself or anything like that but this looking endlessly into a piece of paper or computer screen and having nothing to jot down is somewhat common. It happens. And it’s definitely overwhelming.
Those in the known have suggested a cornucopia of reasons as to why this frustrating phenomenon tends to happen from which I have selected three reasons that spoke to me: fear, inferiority complex, and anxiety. Let's jump into each of them, shall we?
FearBasically the “what ifs”. What if they don’t like it? What if it is not good enough? What if someone else has already covered this in a more elegant, eloquent way? Etc. I hate this feeling. It’s paralyzing. It takes a lot of mental work just to pretend I’m fearless (because that is what I try to do sometimes). Writing fear comes to me in different shapes: the title has to be catchy, the text should have colorful metaphors, it must add value and has to grab the reader’s attention… in the first sentence. There is so much to take into account that just thinking about it makes me stop before I can even start. Haha. What to do?
MeditationI tried it, and it seems that when the mind is relaxed and judgeless, I can sit down and start to write. Not that meditation helped me rewrite War and Peace or anything like that but at least I am here, up to this point in my text.
InferiorityOr that feeling that those things I have to share, don’t matter.
Who am I to discuss any topic? This is silly, I know; we all have something to say about something. Go to any coffee shop and the one thing you will notice is that there are a lot of people talking. Some of them may know each other, others might be going through a first date or an interview but the common denominator is this: they are all talking to each other. So, yeah, it seems that we all have something to say about something, so why is it that we create the feeling that the one thing we are trying to write will just not cut it?
The truth is, maybe it won’t “cut it”. Maybe people won’t care. Maybe it won’t be relevant right now; maybe never. Maybe the topic is completely off. But then again, maybe I’m also wrong about this. Maybe someone (even if it is just one) cares… or could benefit from my point of view.
So how do I deal with this inferiority complex? I don’t. Fighting uses energy. Instead, I redirect the negative feelings so they become positive; at the very least, neutral. I call it the Jiu Jitsu of negative thoughts. Meaning: changing the context of the negative idea so that it loses its force (or luckily becomes positive). “No one will read it?” becomes “Maybe someone will”, “It is irrelevant for today’s day and age” becomes “Maybe another generation will benefit”. “This idea is a piece of trash” gets converted to “Well, today I am writing for the trashcan”. And so on.
AnxietyOr the feeling that whatever I have to say, won’t meet my expectations (or someone else’s).
This one, of course, is related to the two above (fear and inferiority), but anxiety feels somewhat particular. And I do think it is related to the expectations I create in my mind. How do I deal with it (er.., learning to deal with it). First off, I now understand (finally!) that I’m not my anxiety. Anxiety is just a feeling that comes and goes. As such, I need to learn how to live with it; being able to identify this feeling when it comes, is a good start. Then breathing it out seems to do the trick. At least partially. I am not an expert (yet) but it seems that breathing in a certain way and anxiety are inversely related.
Lastly, as I breath I often try to remind myself that it’s okay to fuck up. In fact, you need to fuck up once in a while (and hopefully realized that minor fuck ups do not bring about major disasters). Bad writing or horrible topics are DEFINITELY not the end of the world. So here are both. Enjoy.