Write With Spite (and in a journal!)
Updated: Apr 19, 2022
I come bearing bad news…I’m in a massive writer’s block slump. It’s another ironic take on my life: writing about how to beat writer’s block, yet finding myself, a writer, to be very much blocked. I think a lot of this slump has to do with the fact that I’m in a sort-of post-undergrad recovery. As in, I graduated almost four months ago with a degree that required me to write so much that now I don’t know what to do with myself without anyone telling me I have to write several things, and quickly. I have a full-time job, thankfully, but it’s hard to find time to write when all I want to do is curl up in bed and read a book in a half-vegetative state once I get home. There are a lot of thoughts in my brain, but not enough time to let them manifest onto the page. Thus comes the writer’s block, and an ugly case of it.
In the past, I’ve found that keeping a journal full of my nonsensical thoughts and fledgling plotlines are the best way to work out my stories. I carry a journal around with me everywhere so that, when I do find the time to write, I’ll have it on hand as a tool for my creative dumping. Having a physical journal to write in is like a refreshing change of environment for my brain that’s been processing nothing but blue light from my laptop all day. Sometimes, it’s like I can’t think straight until I can write it in my journal.
A few months ago, I got an idea for a story and made a beeline for my trusty journal (it has beautiful pages with shiny gold edges and a brown leather cover, by the way). It’s one of those stories that are on the tip of my tongue and won’t quite come out as something fully formed. I found myself frustrated because I was writing something that didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be. I didn’t know what I wanted it to be!
At least, I thought I didn’t.
In a bout of frustration, I cracked open my journal to figure out what I was going to do with this poor story…only to find that Emily from two months ago had already mapped it out! Somehow, I had forgotten that I really did know what I wanted it to be (that is, until the story takes its own turn, which is almost always the case). I felt an enormous sense of relief, along with some embarrassment. I haven’t gotten around to writing the story as I had originally planned, but it’s good to know that I had my own guidelines to follow after all.
Not to be dramatic, or anything, but I don’t know what I’d do without my journal, and I highly recommend that all writers have their own. A journal will help you organize your thoughts, no matter how senseless they may be, and especially at the earliest stages of story writing. It may also save your life in the event you’re drowning underneath a writer’s block and have nothing else to grab on to. Who knows, maybe your past self saved your future self from giving up on a great story.