Daily Prompt: Tell us about a time you couldn’t quite get your words or images to express what you wanted to express. What do you think the barrier was?
The words from On a Plain come back to me this morning as I sit facing my blank screen:
“What the hell am I trying to say?”
What am I trying to say?
I’ve had a great week as far as blog stats go, and for that I am thrilled and excited, happy to have reached so many people, and to have heard from so many of you.
But that doesn’t necessarily make writing any easier. Perhaps it makes it harder. Not the writing itself, but the critical eye with which I read my potential posts.
I’ve actually written a lot this week – odes and thoughts and memories and wisps of undeveloped ideas – I just haven’t posted them.
They may capture my thoughts to varying degrees, but they don’t seem to really say what I want them to say. Or perhaps they say a bit too much and I’m hesitant to share them for that reason.
Not that I usually hold back.
Those of you who have followed me for a while know that I’m comfortable baring my soul and sharing my insecurities.
It’s more that this week I feel unsettled, jumpy. And my writing is the same. It jumps around, never quite alighting on the point I am trying to make. Maybe I’m not sure what my point is.
There have been some exceptions of course, and those I have posted. But for every piece of writing I have made public this week, I have three or four other partially finished posts that are languishing in my drafts folder.
I’m ok with that – I get that it’s normal, though it’s not usual for me – but I’m curious as to why all of a sudden I’m shelving so much. I put it down to just another phase, another part of the blogging experience. I’m sure all writers go through similar phases.
I haven’t been blogging for too long, four months or so now, but looking back even over such a short time, I find it interesting to note the ebbs and flows. The moods, the changes.
There are times I have been very prolific, writing more than one post per day every day for weeks. There have been a few days, sometimes in a row, that I have posted nothing at all, though behind the scenes not a day has passed without me writing something.
There are weeks that I find I can only write poetry, and then the lines come to me fast and furious so that I run to the computer or my iPhone or the kitchen notepad to take down every precious thought lest it be lost, never to return again.
Then there are weeks that I feel I can only write opinion pieces, or journal-type entries. They feel so easy in the moment, almost too easy, as though in some way it’s cheating to simply share with you my thoughts, to pour out my heart or to share my opinionated views.
But there are weeks, too, that those flows slow to a trickle and then dry up completely.
My original reason for starting this blog was to share my experiences and thoughts. But once I began, memories of my childhood passion for writing flooded my consciousness and I realized that this was the perfect outlet for creative writing. I had always wanted to write fiction. I had dreams of posting a chapter a month, give or take, and putting a novel together slowly, piece by piece.
But the fiction writing, I have found, is the hardest of all. It takes the most out of me.
When a story does come to me, I’m seized more completely and obsessively than I am when I am writing poems or opinion pieces. And I am utterly drained by the end. Often, I don’t know how the story is going to end until I get there. I enjoy being pulled along by the characters and the action as my fingers try to keep up.
I haven’t written chapter after chapter, though. I have started a few but they’ve all stalled at some point. I have short stories aplenty, but I am no closer to writing a book than I was when I started.
I think that’s ok, though. Maybe whatever it is I am trying to say can’t be said in that format. Maybe I’m meant to write short stories and poems instead.
Or maybe I’ll be hit one day with the realization that there is some common thread between my posted and unposted writing that, if I pick it up and use it to string everything together and tie a knot at the end, I will have something I never noticed before.
In the short term, I’m just curious to find out what it is exactly that I’m trying to say.