I promised myself to be productive this week-end and to write on my blog, but instead I have spent hours escaping to Hotmail, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter… I have Googled anything from TV series to information about daylight-savings-time. I could blame Google Chrome’s bookmark system. The bookmarks are just too visible at the top of the page. How can you focus on writing while the word “Facebook” is hovering right there above your post? Who knows what is happening with all my friends right now. God forbid I miss out on that picture of a pizza and the latest developments in an acquaintances ear infection! Who could possibly write while such temptations distract you?
The truth is, of course, that I am avoiding the emptiness of the page, and this has me worried as it might mean my old friend, the little Demon of Writer’s Block, has come back to haunt me. I was feeling quietly optimistic these last few weeks, hoping that it might be some while before I see him again as he used to be, lurking at the edge of my mind with the sinister intention of disrupting my writing process. I managed to write 8 blog posts after all. But now I am thinking that maybe he never left at all. Perhaps he simply stayed away for a few weeks, lulling me into a false sense of security, only to appear smirking at the edge of the screen this week-end. Having been acquainted with him for the past 7 years I am familiar with his tricks and know to put nothing past him.
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. As a child it was not even framed in terms of “wanting to be” but “will be”. I will be a writer when I grow up. In my innocence I had no idea of all the obstacles that life throws at you as you grow up. I wrote a lot but never finished anything. Notebooks piled up as one beginning followed another. But I was always writing. Moving to Brussels put an end to my creativity for a while, as adjusting to the new school and excessive amounts of homework took up much of my time. But after some time I started again and during my Philosophy studies I got past the beginning, and wrote 50 pages of a novel that now lies abandoned in my documents folder, together with a number of empty documents with hopeful titles.
At some point near the end of my studies I became unable to write fiction. I was writing my thesis at the time and initially thought that perhaps all my creative energy was spent on that monstrous task, but the horrifying truth was that the inspiration I felt during the preceding years never returned. That is when I became acquainted with that little demon whose sole joy in life is making my fingers hover uselessly above the keyboard while my mind is blank as newly fallen snow. Writing used to give me joy. The tapping of my fingers on the keyboard, as words materialized like magic, creating sentences and plot-lines. This was my paradise. And suddenly it was snatched away. I would stare at the page in front of me and feel nothing but deep angst. I began dreading the attempts at writing. I would open a document and stare at the empty page for a while, but soon I would get up and move into another room, just to be physically removed from the accusing page in front of me. In the end I stopped trying, and somehow years flew by while the sadness for my loss grew deeper. Sometimes this sadness would become an almost nauseating regret and I would sit down in front of my computer, but in vain. Only the same debilitating angst would come to me, making me flee from the computer once again.
Then, 2 years ago I broke up with my boyfriend of almost 10 years. I was heartbroken and felt as if I had nothing left. That is when I decided that I would focus on things that interested me. I would no longer allow my happiness to depend on another person. I bought myself an apartment, tried to keep informed about any literary events coming my way and began reading philosophy again, hoping that I would regain the inspiration that I had during my studies. The break-up did not last long and we are back together again, but I am still committed to making time for my own interests, and the most important one is writing. That is the reason I started this blog. In my experience a blog does not cause blank page syndrome to the same extent as an empty word document. The blog has props, such as the background you have chosen and pictures that you add to your post. All these things draw attention away from the words, which would otherwise have to rely solely on their own merit. I was hopeful that this would relieve me of the dread I used to feel while looking at those hesitant first words.
And maybe it does work. Because while writing about not being able to write, I have written a post, and so kept my promise.