For the past couple of days I have found myself typing the words “writer’s block” on search engines.
I know other people that usually go through the same phase; a hundred percent of which would say it is an absolute inconvenience to be stuck in. Like a hell hole, almost.
It’s funny how writing has become one of the most powerful and most beautiful means one can express their thoughts with, because I’m not exactly sure if everybody’s aware of how difficult it is to actually come up with something from scratch.
Literally, a well-written article you’ve read or that installment of fiction that you’ve labeled as your ‘favorite’–all of those have appeared out of basically, nowhere. That story was originally not on print; it’s merely been pulled out from a writer’s mind and has been intricately strewn together to be coherent enough for an audience. And the most poetic pieces out there may sometimes appear as though they have been written out of sheer talent but really, what were they before? Pieces of letters, fragments of ideas, chunks of random prompts, merely words that were once caged in a person’s mind itching to be typed down.
I don’t believe in the idea of someone being born as a talented writer; I don’t think such a person exists. I do think that a big part of talent still depends greatly on the working environment and one’s ability to retain information; and patience, most importantly there should be patience. Patience to work on oneself and not simply rush into what seems impressive at first, but really is garbage in retrospect.
The first time I attempted to write was back in primary school, where I became a part of our journalism club. It wasn’t a particularly luxurious club. We were a team of mediocre kids just trying to get points in our report cards by doing extracurricular activities. By the time I stepped into high school I began to write fiction (read: fanfiction) and only then did I know how much I could improve, because there were people who gladly gave me feedback, they told me about what I could do. And so I took the underlying advice and continued to write some more. I kept on writing and even applied my newfound hobby into my academic work. I haven’t stopped writing since, and it’s been quite a while, if I think about it.
Yet at this point of my life I think there still is a huge part of me that is very disappointed with the way I write. If I tell someone who doesn’t share the same hobby, they might be impressed with a 90,000-word story written by a teenager. But then again, I think in cases of writing quantity doesn’t really prove anything AT ALL. You could write 100,000 words and still leave people baffled about what you write. Hell, you could write a book and still leave the impression that you’ve scribbled jargon in your pages. Quantity doesn’t always translate to quality.
It could get frustrating. It’s frustrating because the way one’s mind can come up with ideas are much, much faster in comparison to being able to write them down as eloquently as possible. And then there’s the annoying case of writer’s block to keep you in times of frustration–as if incoherence wasn’t enough, let’s blow stuff up by mentally burning your thought process!
Then again aren’t those the signs of having potential to grow? Frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment–if those feelings didn’t consume you enough to tell you you need to improve, what else would? I think (and perhaps this might sound as a mere consolation) when you reach a point where you think everything you do is never enough, you might have hit something great with your skill. Because if you really did not care that much, or if you only did what you did to impress people, then all you’d ever come to think about is how good you are. Only if you had enough desire to improve would you ever actually accept the fact that you are bad, you know? You acquire a sense of demotion because you know, and you want to be better than how you are now. And I think that’s a very good sign of how you are in your field.
One can write for years and years and years on end, and would only occasionally find their work satisfying. At least, in my experience. When I look back at what I’ve written I would immediately taste something unpleasant in my mouth, quickly hitting the ‘x’ on my screen and, in a LOT of cases, deleting the file altogether. It’s not that I don’t believe I can write, rather it’s because I believe I can do so much better. And yes, maybe the road to satisfaction of one’s writing isn’t still within reach, but until then all I could really do is write and write and write some more. There really is no other way to get there anyway.