There are few things more disheartening to a writer than acknowledging and admitting that they are experiencing writer’s block. Yet, this is where I find myself. Once again I am staring at a screen trying to find words to tell a story that I know every minute detail of. Trying though to put the words down is like writing in a foreign language, the words I use never seem right, nor do they do justice to the story I am trying to tell.
Like all things I know this time will pass, but now more than ever I am ready to embrace writing as a focus within my life. Indeed my work has improved, and been published this year, and I have found in poetry a means of expressing myself that I never truly believed I’d be able to access.
With time away from college, and prior to starting University in September I wanted to reflect on where this inability to engage with my work comes from, and the only correlation I can find stems from my experiences of depression. It is often when I am most depressed that I turn to writing, and in some respects that may be what happened last year.
Last September I was faced with my worst nightmare, and though I lived through it, my mother did not. My family lost her to sepsis, suddenly and gave us no chance to say goodbye. Twelve months have passed, enough time for the people around us to return to their lives, forgetting that ours would never be the same, nor any of us the same people.
As a full-time carer of a sibling with significant support needs, I had to step away from work and the burden of supporting someone with limited understanding through grief has been harrowing and beautiful, much like my mother’s death itself. I returned though to college even before my mother’s funeral, because I knew that if I gave up on writing then, I would never return to it, and not only did I complete my course, but got the A required to study at my university of choice.
I did all of this either sleeping on a floor, or a couch or eventually sharing a bed with my other brother. I have a flat twenty minutes from my parents house that I have been to seven times in the last year, and have slept in once since my mother passed away. The displacement which has come with facilitating the need of my family, has inadvertently stripped me of my entire way of life. No home, no possessions, no time to myself. Two or three hours of sleep per night, and no income other than student bursary. This is just the tip of the iceberg that has been my life, but it is something I have had to acknowledge and doing so leaves me with little else other than my pride.
And yet pride, is probably the thing I struggle with most. I find it difficult to commend myself, but this is something that I am working on and when I do stop to acknowledge the things I have done in this year alone I realise I have the potential to do so much more, but first I had to give myself the time to mourn, to grieve and to recover. Once my course was over, I found myself at home almost every day, with no work, and no time to get a job I was forced to acknowledge how hard this has been. But doing so was as necessary for the benefit of my own mental wellbeing, as it was for those I cared for.
I will start writing with purpose again soon, of that I’m sure. Until then, I will write. Whatever comes to mind, and when it becomes purposeful, I shall remember that time doing nothing can still be time being spent productively.
Try changing medium. I sometimes find it helps to write with pen and paper when the screen is too daunting.
I actually chose to switch projects out for a while. I realised I was waiting not for inspiration but for desire, desire which I had for something else which was slowly beginning to take shape at the back of my mind.
I love writing with pen and paper and all of my notes, drafts and summaries are handwritten, which gives me confidence that I’ll get there in the end. 😊
A change of pace has helped and with a new academic focus I’m sure I’ll start back on my core projects when I’m ready to do so.
Fair enough. Best of luck with your projects, I hope you find your desire.