Welcome to Wavering

There’s a distinct difference between writer’s block and writer’s blah.

Writer’s block is dense. Brick. Concrete. Slab.

Writer’s blah is foggy. Murky. Swampy. Slump.

Writer’s block is hard to miss. It’s the desolation of a blank page. A flashing cursor taunting you. A pen frozen in your hand.

Writer’s blah on the other hand is more deceptive. The words come but they arrive tangled or flat. They crowd your brain pressuring you to create some sort of tasteful order.  Or they plod onto the page lumpily like small farting creatures sticking out their tongues.

Either way you feel cheated.

You reminisce about past words which flowed from you organically. You become nostalgic as your mind drifts back to the poem you wrote in the fourth grade – the one that earned you three shiny stickers and the round face with the black smile.

When I come up against both block or blah, I have a tendency to lean into ‘what’s the point?’.  It’s a well worn phrase in my repertoire.  If I repeat it enough times ‘what’s the point?’ grants me permission to walk away. To stop trying. To stop struggling. To take myself out of the running.

And my god – that feels like sweet relief.

But the feeling is short lived.

Very soon after, I start prodding myself. Sticking insults like old, rusty pins into the tender lining of my soul.

“Idiot – you always give up.”

“You never follow through.”

“You’re hopeless.”

And so the cycle begins. And the cycle is not only vicious, but cunning. It provides no obvious escape route.

If I write – I’m rubbish.  If I don’t  write – I’m rubbish times two.

I’d love to come up with some perky quotes to help us all through the block and the blah. But if you’re looking for perky quotes – Write To Be You is not your destination. I could hop onto Instagram or Pinterest and design a motivational banner, declaring in a curly font that GIVING UP IS NOT AN OPTION!

But truthfully – we all know that giving up is an option. We get hurt. Or tired. We lose focus. And that’s normal.

In the midst of Olympic mania, I  notice a feeling of inadequacy in the face of  extraordinary human beings who push themselves to inhuman limits in order to compete.

Watching a long distance run event this week, I was more captivated by an athlete who strayed off the track halfway through the race than I was by the winners. I felt an urge to find that runner. To give her a hug. To gently wipe her tears and tell her that it’s okay to cry.

Being human involves trying and failing. Giving up and getting up. Banging against blocks and battling the blah.

It involves wavering – finding yourself on the side of the track when just a moment before you were running the race.

So what is the Point?

I can’t say I have any idea… but I do know that writing, even when it’s the last thing in the world I feel like doing, helps me to make some meaning of that eternal unanswerable question.

Are you familiar with asking yourself ‘What’s the point?’ Write about blocks and blah. Write about giving up or getting up or both. Write a response to this post – even if you don’t want to. Notice the resistance and write anyway.


6 Responses to “Welcome to Wavering”

  1. Sophie James
    August 8, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    This is a stunning piece of writing.

    • Rory Green
      August 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

      Thank you, Sophie, for all of your support! I am so grateful…

  2. Lisa Hills
    August 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Thank-you for this. Your beautiful, funny, compassionate description just dignified and de-personalize a process that feels so clumsy and my fault. Thank-you, thank-you for helping me keep a sense of humor about a process that can feel so lonely. I take it both too seriously and not seriously enough.

    • Rory Green
      August 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      Lisa – you are most welcome! Thank you for writing!

  3. Jen
    August 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    The resistance to writing is ever present. Each time I write, I feel more grounded so I try to do it but, it’s a struggle. I’m still trying to learn to use my words…something my toddler and I have in common. Some words I just don’t have in my lexicon and others are hidden deep in the caverns of my brain. I try and try again to access them.

    Some days are a complete success. Others, I fail miserably. The same thing happens when I speak. Words of genius get trapped in my head. I’m often tongue-tied. Loaded with passionate emotions and brilliant ideas and all that emerges is a facial tic where my eyes slam shut then flutter repeatedly. It’s like only one thing can come out of my face at a time – vision or verbality, but not both. The frustrating thing is that people mistake my tic for snobbery or aloofness but it’s actually a moment of complete vulnerability and surrender. I can not think and speak simultaneously. I must shut down a system to move on. I must momentarily waver to push through. It’s terribly embarrassing but I can’t give up and I don’t. I keep writing. I keep speaking…. even if much of what comes out is complete gibberish!

  4. Frahnseen
    September 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    Wavering. I see the email letting me know I have just been moved off the waiting list for one of the writing groups I have just joined. I am now participant number 12. I’m excited. I think it’s just down the street and it’s tonight. I checked the website to see the format since I’ve looked at several different groups and it says bring copies of your writing to silently share and then discuss. I immediately un RSVP. Then I think someone else will get the spot and immediately re RSVP. Then un-RSVP again. I am now sure the moderator of the group knows that I am a complete flake and they have never met me. I pull out my book of poetry and re read the pages I had previously marked. They are all trite and would be embarrassing to share with others. Monkey mind at its best. Good thing I un RSVP’d early so someone else could sign up. I can wait until the last minute and if there’s still a spot, I can show up. Nevermind. I am decided that I will do this, but not tonight. I really don’t have time anyway and I will be writing two different times already this week so I can say no without feeling guilty. But I do feel guilty. I chickened out. But its okay to only do what I feel like doing I tell myself. It’s the holiday weekend, right? I’m a proficient waverer. What to wear, what time to leave, what time should I arrive? I’ve got an answer for everything and an opposite reason why that answer isn’t the right one. I find I save money because if something is expensive and there are too many choices- colors, brands, features I get overloaded and end up not buying at all because my buyer’s remorse has already kicked in and the pleasure of something new is ruined by the mounting anxiety. Should I keep writing or am I out of words. Is this piece too long, too short, should I delete it or post it. I sit here wavering.

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