It took me more than an hour to finally press the keys on my laptop and start writing for today’s column. Before doing so, I have been shifting my gaze from my laptop screen as the type cursor keeps blinking and the other to my phone while it plays the YouTube video entitled “How to be Productive”.
No matter how hard I tried, I always got distracted and no mind-blowing thoughts rushed into my head. Until I decided to write about this very thing I am experiencing- writer’s block.
Ironic. Isn’t it?
Coined by American psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler in 1947, the term “writer’s block,” as the Cambridge Dictionary defines it, is “the condition of being unable to create a piece of written work because something in your mind prevents you from doing it.” This may happen temporarily during the actual writing process or last throughout a writer’s entire creative journey.
As writers or journalists, people expect us to write non-stop and produce content for them continuously so they’ll stay informed and entertained. But there are just times when lifting our fingers to write seems to be the most exhausting thing to do.
This isn’t just about being lazy or bored. The inability to write may be deeply rooted in more complex issues affecting one’s mental health such as anxiety, depression, increased self-criticism, procrastination, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other things (Barrios, M. & Singer, J., 1981).
Although I am not clinically diagnosed with the above-mentioned mental health concerns, I could say that I have been through a tough time recently, especially with the passing of a family member.
The monotony of my routine (school-work-extracurricular activities-repeat), the constant need to keep myself busy to achieve the things I want and not rest, my perfectionist tendencies, along grief, have all contributed to the creative block that I have to deal with at the moment.
In times like this when I feel demotivated to do even something that I am passionate about, I am reminded that our feelings are always valid and it’s okay to take a break. That one genuine break you’ve been longing for might be the one that will save you from drowning in the abyss of today’s suffering.
To the one reading this, whether you are a writer or not, if you ever feel like having a “block”, don’t forget to pause, take time to breathe, and appreciate all the other things in life that matter – like your mental health.
Barrios, M. V., & Singer, J. L. (1981). The Treatment of Creative Blocks: A Comparison of Waking Imagery, Hypnotic Dream, and Rational Discussion Techniques. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 1(1), 89-109. doi:10.2190/69g4-6ycm-n11h-eeew