30 Nov 2020
The daily writing challenge for this month was particularly difficult. I found myself creatively drained and unable to write anything that even I was interested in by around the halfway point. I have watched my word counts dwindle from around the high 800’s down into the 300’s and lower. I have phoned it in on multiple occasions, writing something more akin to a tweet or a Facebook post than a blog/article.
I think there have been a few difficulties associated with this writer’s block. The first is the latest quarantine. Being stuck inside with little-to-nothing new happening isn’t conducive to having interesting topics to write about. While I had a handful of ideas for posts, I’ve more often than not just gone by the seat of my pants and written the first thing that came to mind. Not being able to get out of the house and do things has not been helpful for getting the creative juices flowing.
Related to the above is a lack of prompts. When I tackled the 30 day song challenge earlier this year, I had a prompt for every day. I had space to think in advance about the songs I would learn, and was able to apportion my time properly. I very rarely got to a day and thought “I don’t know what to learn today,” which was my constant refrain for November’s challenege. For future attempts (if I’m brave enough), I’ll find a prompt list from somewhere, even if it’s not designed specifically for daily blog writing.
Time, again, was a factor. I am a little busier than I was back in the spring, thanks to work returning to a rotating shift pattern (gone are the days of finishing every day at 16:30!), meals to cook, dishes to clean from other people cooking, and socialising being more readily available in my new home. Video games, alcohol, books, TV, movies, music… All these things and more served to distract me from my aim to write every day. Towards the end of the month I found myself getting to midnight having written nothing, and so frantically trying to write something short and sweet.
All of those distractions were there before as well, but I think this time my resolve was weaker, and my desire to actually embrace the challenge less strong. I didn’t feel as motivated and disciplined to try to broaden my horizons. Perhaps it’s to do with being stuck in front of a computer all day for work, so I came to want to avoid additional time there. It was possibly that I didn’t feel the same sense of validation from my rambling blogs than I did from my musical outpourings. It could have been that I didn’t feel that my writing was up to scratch enough to be worth practising. Maybe it’s none of those, or all.
Another problem (and one I have already alluded to) is that I think it’s easier to learn something than to create something. Less mental energy goes into repeating the same passage of notes in a guitar solo than it does to create a sentence out of nothing. It’s very hard to do for 30 days in a row.
I am glad I attempted this challenge. I do enjoy writing, after all. I think I enjoy writing more when it’s not to a deadline, and I can go at my own pace. I would rather take days than hours to research, write, and edit a blog post. Very little research occurred in the last month, and even less editing. I’m glad to have come to the end of it having only skipped one day’s worth of writing. I’m glad that out of the 30 posts, I’ve not ended up with 30 bits of dross. There are a selection of entries that I’m actually quite happy with, and I have discovered that perhaps writing the odd bit of poetry is a good way to excise thoughts from my brain without having to go into excrutiating detail.
More to follow?