Relationships The Self

Writer’s Block

Hello. It seems I may need to reintroduce myself. It’s been eight months since I last wrote a blog post. And, laid before that was another shameful year of inconsistent writing. Where did I go? I’ve been wondering that about myself for a while now.

For those of you who forgot, I’m Sara. I’m your daughter, friend, niece, cousin, friend of a friend’s daughter, coworker…I’m that girl who’s been growing up, traveling the world and writing about it.

I’m in New York City now – Brooklyn to be exact. I have much to say about my time here. But, we will get to that later. Today, I’ve chosen to talk about my re-coming out…in the blogging world.

I struggle to explain my lack of writing over the past couple years – even when trying to explain it to myself. The truth is, I’ve tried to write. I have opened my computer many nights to start posts that I thought would be an easy write and engaging read. But, it always ended up the same way – with the dreaded and always-frustrating condition we storytellers call writer’s block.

Writer’s block for two years, you say? Unfortunately, I’m not lying. I have had lists upon lists of topics to write about. Yet, no fine-tuned way of spitting out my thoughts.

So, I’ve been left immobilized. Blog post-less. Disappointed in myself and my inability to create what usually comes so naturally to me: sentences.

It didn’t take long for me to start researching the condition. I knew I’d experienced a lot of unfamiliar stresses these past few years. But, being a mental health professional and natural detective of problem causes, I wanted to see what the experts had to say.

What I found was a list of reasons ranging from lack of inspiration to adverse personal circumstances to self-induced pressures that have left some of the greatest writers creatively “stuck” from time to time.

Some also say that writer’s block is…wait for it…stress-induced (ding ding ding!). According to writer and neurologist Alice W. Flaherty’s book “The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block and the Creative Brain”, literary creativity (aka writing) is a function of specific areas of the brain. As it turns out, what we experience as the “block” part of writer’s block may actually be the result of disrupted brain activity.

Now, it obviously goes a bit deeper than this. But, I will spare you the explanation about how stress causes a shift from the brain’s cerebral cortex to limbic system, and so on and so forth.

The point is, that’s where I’ve been. Mentally stuck. Processing my travels, triumphs and tragedies. Waiting for my brain to stabilize.

Today, I sit in a Brooklyn park with my blanket and my pit bull. It’s a lovely August day in New York, and as the neighborhood kids burn energy playing soccer in the field next to me, I am burning off a heavy weight of compressed thoughts with each iPad key that I press. It’s a great feeling to see black letters pop up on my white screen without the cursor deleting them minutes later.

I am still processing. But, I’ve seen lots of ladybugs around lately. And, I think they’re telling me it’s time to start trying this writing thing again.

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