Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Writer's Block

I have started several posts lately, and have saved them all as drafts. For some reason, they don't turn out the way I intend. Usually I just sit down with a line of thought, start typing, and a little while later have a post. Not the case lately. I sit down, start typing, and come up with gibberish, an incoherent pile of words. I feel like I am writing things that make sense, but that don't go anywhere. I am dithering. Do you know ditherers? We all do, I think. People who talk and talk and talk and never get to their point. My problem is usually that I try to explain too many details. My point may be that Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, but first I need to tell you why they needed the water and what the pail looked like.

I'm not sure what the problem has been in writing lately. The words just don't flow to my liking. I don't write blog posts the way I write other things. I don't write a first draft and then revise it. I don't usually search for the perfect word or phrase to tickle the reader's literary fancy. I do try to check for gross spelling and grammar errors, but even those basics sometimes go by the wayside. My blog posts are pretty much just loosely bridled streams of consciousness. So you would think that I wouldn't have any trouble whatsoever in writing them, what with such a lack of self-enforced rules. But I do.

So maybe this post will get me back on track. Maybe it will reassure me that I can focus on one topic long enough to write a few words about it. Or maybe I'll just go ahead and post all of those incoherent drafts, and then you can all read them and think I've gone completely off my rocker. One thing I realized as I went through some of those drafts is that I very rarely end up publishing anything I save as a draft. I save it because I am frustrated by it and cannot make it read the way I want it to, but usually I have spent a fair amount of time writing it and do not want to just delete it. So I save it, and never publish it. So the chances of you seeing my recent drafts are pretty slim.

One thing I haven't learned about myself yet is what is the best way to combat a problem like this, this disinterest in or frustration with something I enjoy. Not being able to write as I want to, not having patience to finish a book or even an interest in choosing one to begin, not being able to make a sewing project turn out the way I had envisioned it. Is it better to put the activity aside for a while, take a break from it, and then go back to it refreshed? Or is it better to push on through, keep at it even though it's driving me crazy? I suspect the answer differs based on the situation. Sometimes I need a break and sometimes I need to persevere.

"And I was just starting to think I had a few things figured out..." Brian Finn [Edward Norton], Keeping the Faith.

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