I was at a wayside station the other day. The train I had taken had stopped at the station for a few minutes. I looked around, enjoying the break from movement and hoped to start chugging soon. But what seemed like a mini stop for a few minutes continued to extend to a few more minutes, and then to half a day, and then to a full day. The train didn’t move. It stood there immobile for ever. I felt lost and alarmed.
Why had the train stopped? Was it a lack of fuel, a lack of direction, a lack of tracks, or had I boarded the wrong train?
I get similar feelings with my writing, as if my train of creativity has stopped at a station and can’t move ahead. I am extremely prolific at certain times, but at other times, my thoughts are clogged. I don’t get ideas to write about. There seems to be no story in all the stories around me! A seed that can make a wonderful story just slips by me and I allow it to pass. I watch it float but my hand refuses to grab it.
I wonder if my thoughts have been held captive and can be released with a settlement with a muse. Oh the ever elusive muse! I can easily blame the muse for aridity of my otherwise fertile thoughts.
A restlessness soon overpowers me. My motivation starts plummeting and drags me down along with itself. I look within and find myself hiding behind my door, unwilling to come out and sit at my desk.
Gradually, this gnawing feeling of not being able to write intensifies within. I scrape and I scrape only to find myself empty of thoughts. My well of inspiration is dry. Socializing with other writers on such despondent days petrifies me. I see my fellow writers pour out so much written work but I watch my creativity come to a staggering halt. My days turn toxic. My erratic mood finds me snapping at my family. The anxiety is so unmistakable that it haloes around me like a depression.
I start sulking and questioning myself. Is it a lack of inspiration, a lack of direction, or just the wrong career path I’ve chosen? Why has my train stopped moving?
Finally when the restlessness refuses to be contained within, I face the moment. By a premeditated arrangement with myself, I sit at my desk. I think of those days when I powered on with grit writing pieces that resonated with people and touched their hearts. I read an article I wrote earlier. And then I put my finger to my keyboard.
I write the first two words. I string another to it. Then I string the next one, and the next one and the next one and before I know, I have broken the unblessed state of aridity. I’ve already written a piece. It may not be worthy of publishing, but it has helped me kickstart. Yes, there is hope!
The following day, I sit and string words together again. I explore my mind, I write about mundane things around me, and finally, I see a story emerging.
There! I’ve done it. Broken the curse of writer’s block! I wave my goodbyes to the wayside station and my train chugs along.