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Self-Taught

333/365

Jack rambles about not believing in writers block and explains why.

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Once in a while I draw blanks when attempting to come up with something new to write. But I don’t quit. I’m well trained. Disciplined enough to know just by writing my thoughts down I’ll get somewhere.

I’ve taught myself to expand on seemingly any amount of writing through nothing but will power. I’ve stopped believing writers block is anything more than a state of mind the inexperienced go through. It’s become too easy to turn nothing into something.

See, one of the main lessons about writing is to understand that what one means when they say ‘being a writer’ what they really mean is being a self-editor. Understanding how to twist and turn your own words into something greater than they were on the first round.

Take the first few sentences of this very aimless rant, for example. I can simply change the perspective to third person and pretend I’m telling you the story of a struggling writer. One who is about to force through his writers block and come to the conclusion that anything is possible with a little effort. But in reality this started as nothing more than a mental exercise. Nothing more than my writing to myself about not knowing what to write. Yet, that turns out to be enough. The writing part is all that is needed on the first round. It doesn’t have to be about anything. It doesn’t have to sound perfect or be perfect. It just needs to get written. Whatever that might be. The editing part is where the magic happens. The transforming of the words and ideas takes place and they form something greater, something easier to relate to the reader.

Drawing from life experiences can easily improve during the editing process because the frame of the work is done. Now all you do is flush out the details. Add the small nuances that bring it to life and make it believable.

Pretend this fictional writer has been struggling for months. Staring at a blank page for months. And he sees an ant stroll across the table where his desktop sits. Unable to come up with anything he just types away at the ants behavior. No direction, no characters. “The ant walks across the table,” “The ant climbs upon the screen,” “the ant circles the same spot several times.”

Still staring at the screen when the ant is gone, the writer feels as though the subject of his writing had dissipated and simply stares at the already existing text. How easy would it be to quit and call this day another failure stacked upon the many already mounted days of nothing written?
But curiosity forces this writer to do more. Just before his profound realization that writers block is a fantasy, he types “In search of his family” just after the sentence “The ant walks across the table.” Now something has happened. Now, outside of his lack of discipline, simply writing has already framed randomly assorted words into sentences telling a story. “The ant climbs upon the screen,” this writer reads and adds “Yelling, ‘Billy, where are you?” And so two characters came into existence all on their own. Just by writing. No intention of anything. “The ant circles the same spot several times.” And he writers, “Fearful that he’s lost his track of his family. His son Billy is so young and innocent. A spider could be anywhere!” And just like that the basics for a story are formed.
The point is, I’ve stopped believing in writers block. Yes I’m drawing blanks on what to write at the moment, but that just means my thoughts will be weirder than when I do have a plan. My mind will solve the problem on it’s own, because it is fully aware there is nothing capable of stopping me from writing. Except death. That’s the only thing that can.

And as this writer types the epic journey for this ant. And sends it on a quest to track down his child among the dusty old house he lives in, the home collapses atop the writer ending his realization just before it began. The end.