I’m caught in that moment when you want to get something out of your head but you can’t find the words to unlock it. It’s like they’re tied in a knot and will only come out in a particular sequence. But where do you start when you can’t find either end of the string that’s tied in the knot?
Each weekend I sit down to write, to let all the pent up creativity out of my brain and into the computer. It feels, during the week like it would gush out in a raging torrent.
But then I carve out some time, from the sheer rock of a jam-packed existence and suddenly not even a drop will come forth.
It’s not that the pressure isn’t there, it’s that I can’t unlock whatever is holding it back.
It’s like there is the energy, but not the vehicle with which to move it.
And so I get distracted and frustrated, trying to find the key, the code, the sequence which will unlock the fucking ideas. I trip down hundreds of rabbit holes, chasing one end of the knot.
If only I can get it out, then I won’t feel this crushing pressure, this burden of potential, boiling inside my head all day.
This is The Resistance that Steven Pressfield describes.
This is a manifestation of my fear of failure. My fear of creating something unreadable and mediocre. My fear of not having enough time to get out the ideas worth sharing. My fear of not contributing anything worthwhile. My fear of not living a good life.
It’s crazy that something as small as wanting to write a short story could so quickly be traced back to an existential purpose (and crisis), but it’s true.
There is no cure for this except to write. I know this in my heart of hearts. To just sit down and pound out words. They don’t have to be on point or purpose, they just have to be words on screen or paper. To start the process of testing keys in the lock, of feeling the knot for one end of the string.
Just write anything.
Adrian Calear told me that when I can’t think of anything to write, I should describe the inside of a ping-pong ball. “Faced with that prospect,” he said, “ideas will suddenly step forward.”
That is in many respects what this post is. It’s just an exercise to get the fingers moving. They are words to be written, not words to be read. I’m sorry if you’ve gotten down this far, looking for some other meaning. There is none to be found.
No other meaning except that you just need to do the thing you’re trying to do. Run, write, cook, read, fix, draw, glue, sew, compose. You just need to get the words out. The only way you’ll feel the string at the end of the knot is to undertake the task itself. Sit down and start doing. It ok for it to not be right.
When you’re paralysed by choice, it’s not important to make the right choice, it’s important to just make any choice.
So to answer your question, yes, it worked. This sentence is going to finish and I’ll be starting another sentence in another document immediately.
557 words written, just to unlock thousands more.