Silently suffering

WARNING – This post contains material some individuals may find disturbing.  Reader discretion is advised.


Several weeks now I’ve suffered silently with severe bouts of extreme stomach discomfort.

For the first few weeks I expressed little concern for my long-term well-being.  Surely everyone must experience this once or twice in their life, I thought.

Like most experiencing this condition, I’d start my—session—with a tucked newspaper under my arm as I headed to my quiet space.  I’d sit down, roll-up my sleeves, and read a few paragraphs of the daily news before getting down to business.  But I found myself tensing up, which absolutely didn’t help, and I’d find thirty-minutes would pass in a heartbeat without affording any relief to my gut-wrenching discomfort.

Although a few weeks passed, I wasn’t quite ready to seek professional help.  I suppose I was in denial, so instead I decided to try a few home remedies.

I dimmed the lights and played some smooth jazz.  No luck.  I tried some light exercise to no avail.  Finally, I began to exponentially increase my daily caffeine intake; I hear coffee works wonders for people suffering from this awful, uncomfortable condition.

And here we are today; now ten weeks later still suffering from this horrible condition.  But I’m no longer embarrassed, and am here to seek professional help.  I’m suffering from a severe case of writers-block.

coffeecup

It would seem work-life balance is taking a toll on my creative writing.  Maybe it’s the eleven-hour workdays, coupled with other demands like household chores, exercise, and family obligations.  I’m not sure.  Lately, the gut-wrenching stomach discomfort I feel is brought on whenever I realize that I haven’t had the slightest inkling to sit down and put pen to paper.  I don’t think about writing unless it’s watching the deadlines zoom by for my posts due for Today’s Author, and I haven’t logged a single plot or character ideas in my writers’ notebook, which for the past three years has happened at least once weekly.

My mind is a cluttered-mess.  Please tell me this condition will pass?

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13 thoughts on “Silently suffering

  1. Sure, it’ll probably pass. The problem is, WHEN?! I started my block after NaNo 2012 and it hasn’t entirely gone away. I’ve written here and there, but nothing substantial. I hate it, and for me it has actually caused depression. But no matter what I try, I can’t seem to get out of the funk. Keep your head up and never forget what used to be, because one day it will be again. I’m sure of it.

  2. This is a brilliant and creative “take” on a condition that afflicts all of us writers at one time or another. Very well done, it looks as though you have broken through that condition, in some respect, by choosing it to write about. Thanks for sharing, this was a very enjoyable read 😉

  3. Not doing the things that you know you should do and would enjoy doing but don’t feel like doing can indeed be very stressful.
    I tend to try the meditation/close your eyes in quietness for 5 minutes approach. Really helps with re-centering the important things when life is mercilessly flashing by.
    Fun read!

  4. Life is crazy but it’s important to take a little time to sit and relax. Mindfullness is a great way to sit back and take stock. It works most of the time for me.

  5. Ah, you had me. Think of writing as a vacation from all those responsibilities and burdens. That should loosen up the old brain.

    • I agree with Jacqui’s suggestion here. I think of writing as my escape and at the same time, my therapy to get out of my system what I feel I can’t or shouldn’t get out in other ways.

  6. For me, as with most writers, the harder I try the worse my writers block becomes. And with my OCD, that feeling of not being able to organize the jumble in my brain makes is 100x worse for me. I’ve learned that the best thing to do is completely let go. Become something else besides a writer for as long as it takes. I know that may not be possible for those whose professional life encompasses writing, but taking a step back has always been the best cure for me.

  7. As a parent, I have a hard time ever taking time for *ME* when there are things to do for the kids. So, between the soul-sucking day job, then baseball and marching band and jazz band and dance lessons… there are only so many hours left. I have already minimized the amount of sleep I get to an uncomfortable level. So, that means I have the choice of: eating, being at my kids events, doing the yard work/garden… or writing. If it isn’t raining out, writing almost always loses.

    I find that going to the gym (which I get up early every day to do) is a habit that is hard to maintain but easy to break. If I miss one day, it is far easier to miss another, then another… then another. I have found the same to be true with writing these days — I can write every day for weeks on end… but if I miss one day it quickly becomes two, then three…etc.

    I’ve had to take the approach that I tell myself that “it’s okay” if I go a few days without writing. Otherwise, the guilt and frustration make it a certainty that I won’t write. It’s not a sure-fire fix for this, of course, but sometimes you have to give yourself permission to NOT write… otherwise it becomes a burden not unlike your day job, your family obligations, your yard work, etc.

    That said… perhaps what you need is exactly what I am going to do: a block of time in the calendar that is specifically for writing. Maybe it’s Friday night at 8pm. Maybe it’s Saturday morning at 4:37am. My whole life is dictated by schedules, so maybe scheduling an hour to write is exactly what I need to do to get writing back into the daily mix. It sounds like your life is just as overscheduled, so perhaps a set, scheduled time would help. Maybe you don’t have to write anything the first time… maybe it’s just a review of your current character/plot/etc. notebook(s). I don’t know… I certainly haven’t found the answer for myself, but I keep trying and ultimately that’s what keeps me hopeful that I’ll figure it out: if I stop trying, I’ll never figure it out.

  8. Oh, I’m so pleased it’s just Writer’s Block. In saying that, I can imagine the howls of indignation, “What do you mean, just writer’s block!” Well, I was imagining something worse – something much worse – that would stop your writing forever. Seriously, for a minute I thought you were going to tell us you have cancer of some sort. I’m so glad you don’t.

    But I do commiserate with you on the writer’s block. I’ve been caught in a bubble of writer’s block for months now and it’s very, very frustrating because I need to finish the final edit of my MS and nothing is working.

    I would suggest going back over the old Write Now prompts, but I tried that and it didn’t work for me, but having said that, it might work for you. May your delicate condition clear up soon my writerly friend.

  9. “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
    Benjamin Franklin

    Because writing is so intricately linked to our lives I find that sometimes taking a step back really helps give us good perspective. This quote worked for me. I used to struggle with such bad writer’s block that my junior college teacher suggested that I get special consideration for my literature papers. Thankfully, I managed to scrape through though the writing was very
    minimal. What finally loosened me from being stuck in the rut was a life change – finding my faith. I’m not saying this is probably the cause of your writer’s block but look perhaps to an adjustment on a larger scale of things. You might also like to refer to Peter Elbow’s book, “Writing with Power”, in which he offers tips to help kick start the creative process. He himself suffered from writer’s block too at a certain stage of his life. 🙂

  10. This is a powerful post, Matt. To admit you have writer’s block is a huge step. You will overcome this. In the meantime, maybe try writing random words, just lists of words. That’s still writing. Later you can organize them into a different form of writing. Baby steps are still steps.

  11. So sorry you’re struggling with this. Only thing I have to offer is to change your perspective on what qualifies as “writing.” I’m seeing you differentiate between the writing you do for this blog and that which you put down in your writer’s notebook. Writing is writing, no matter what form. See how I can’t even talk about what you’re doing (i.e. blog vs. more personal stuff) without referring to both of them as writing.

    For instance you wouldn’t say Nevada isn’t part of the U.S. because it’s a desert-like climate while the majority of the rest of the country is humid or semiarid (see here: http://bit.ly/climatezones). It’s al the U.S. Be grateful for the ability to write anything–focus on that and it will eventually flow freely.

  12. Owww. I usually develop writer’s block as I’m thinking about people reading my work. Try free writing about a story you had as a child and give yourself permission to suck. When you’re done, print the story and burn it. Roast a marshmellow over it. Usually my tension leaves when I give myself permission to have fun.

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