When people talk about writers, they often talk about “writer’s block”, the fear of the blank page and the inability to write. If you are not someone who experiences this, you can feel like you’re left out of some kind of club, and nodding along in sympathy to things you don’t really understand.
I’m aware that at the moment, my ‘I don’t get writer’s blog’ spiel sounds already smug and unbearable, but bear with me, just a little. There is an opposite problem, for which there is no neat little noun-phrase, and from which I suffer, badly.
My problem, is that I get myself into such a manic state that all I can think about all day, all I can concentrate on, is what I am writing about, the world I have imagined myself into, and I feel horribly disconnected from everything around me. I am absent in conversations, in day-to-day tasks, in everything apart from what I am currently writing. And even when there are things piling up to do, I will write for six, seven, eight hours a day.
It will not surprise you, dear readers, to learn that poor starving artist that I am, I have a second job. This job requires a degree of attention, mental presence etc. This is a problem when I cannot think about anything apart from what I am writing. So is being functional in social situations. I have been with dear, dear friends in a social situation and been unable to focus on the world around me. I have been so lost in my own imagination, that everything else seems less real.
This is a bizarre state to get it, but once I am there, I am stuck, and I write and I write, and that only makes it worse, and I produce tons and tons of stuff and – here’s the kicker to the writing process – I have no idea what’s good, and what’s awful. Because, you see, I imagine for those who get it, Writer’s Block is a natural filter, caused by perfectionism, which means that they can only write when it’s right (see what I did there)? I must confess that I am no perfectionist. I have a good editor, and a very patient partner who fix my grammatical mistakes and provide sage advice. I have tons and tons of material, and a head full of more that makes me behave like a total weirdo in public.
I’m not saying I’m not grateful or glad of my bizarre mental state while the creative process is going, and I am sure those who get writers block badly will be narrowing their eyes at me at this stage, but the way I write ends in a rather tiring up and down process where I write and write and write something and then I feel so fatigued that I cannot undertake any creative activity for a few weeks afterwards. I can’t watch TV, I can’t read a book, I just have to write. It’s like being possessed.
I wish I found it easier to block it out. I wish I felt as though I had my creative process under control. I’m certainly not wishing for writer’s block, but there must be some advantages to being able to shut it off. I suppose the grass is always greener on the other side, isn’t it?