Today I am blocked. Frozen. Paralysed. I can't really explain why or how this happened. The words, the creativity, the ability to write seems to have gone and packed itself up overnight.
Last week I had a moment - this sublime moment of creativity that felt like a thunderbolt had cracked inside my skull. I came home and smashed out 1000 words on my keyboard like a woman possessed. My fingers didn't pause or hesitate once in those long fluid moments of other worldliness. It felt easy and oh-so-wonderful. My heart sang with happiness as the words spilled out of me and onto the page. I didn't edit as I went along, and I haven't re-read what I have written yet. I just let it come. I just let it spill. I didn't have a choice but to let it.
But today, the wolves are howling in the recesses of my brain - they have sent me cowering with fear and uncertainty into a corner with a good dose of frustration thrown in. My guru Liz Gilbert wrote the following which pretty much sums up my brain today:-
Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder
I know that I am not alone or unique or special in having these feelings. I know that fear chases all writers down the street while we flee with our tails between our legs believing that we are not worthy, talented or interesting enough to put our words on the page. I also know deep down that the only important thing is what you do in face of this fear. Do you give up and allow the wolves to keep the fear clenched around your heart or do you sit down, face the fucking blank page and just write.
I don't know about you, but today I am going to choose to write.