Brain Block in Writing

I’m sure I’m not alone in my struggle, but it always feels strange knowing that I need help. It’s made worse when I’m not sure what I’m struggling with either. I have my genre chosen. I have found different examples of said genre (that being memoirs). I have examined them and figured out what makes them a genre on their own. I have done all that seems necessary to understand what makes them tick, what makes them memoirs, and yet I’m still stuck, not sure what I’m even meant to write about, beyond the overarching questions given to guide this project, of course. Who am I meant to ask? Since I have chosen a genre that seems so focused on the personal, it doesn’t seem easy to ask someone else for guidance. It isn’t my memoir if someone else’s opinions have changed my own, is it?

I should mention stopping points, or focus more on what I am struggling with. Over everything else, I’m struggling with how I’m meant to show rather than tell, as that is one of the key parts of a memoir. It is easy to write down your opinion, much like I’m doing at this point, but its another thing entirely to expand beyond that. To bring the reader into the situation I’m writing about. More than that, I have to work on focusing on an expansive period of time in my memoir, without any of it seeming rushed or overlooked. Because my memoir will focus on all of my experiences during school, I am struggling to focus on each point. That and I have to try and remember the events in great enough detail to convey them to my readers; they need to be brought into that present moment so they can better understand my perspective. I’ve also got to work on creating myself as a character. This adds to the showing rather than telling aspect that all memoirs. This piece is difficult for me as well, considering the fact that I want my memoir to jump across a large span of time. I need to focus on what I was like as a young child, possibly as young as nine years old, when I was first entering high school and experiencing honors level classes, and myself as a second year college student. I’m struggling with how I am meant to  change the voice of my memoir that many times.

This struggle results in a lot of frustration on my own part. Mostly because my identity as a writer is being challenged with this project. It isn’t often I don’t feel confident in what I’m writing and this project is constantly challenging that (see the long winded paragraph above for more on this thought…). The problem with this, it that being frustrated going into writing, or anything in your life for that matter, never produces the best work I know that I can produce. Even as I’m writing this blog post, I’m frustrated at the thought of making sure I’m hitting my weekly word count as well as trying to express what happens to my other writing. Just look back at this entire post to get a good idea of what happens when you try and write while you’re frustrated… Aside from my blog post of frustration, the same thing is happening as I write for my unfamiliar genre project. I’m not sure of myself, I’m not pleased with what I’m creating because I know it’s work coming from frustration rather than inspired desire to put my thoughts onto paper, and I know that it’s simply not my best work.

Beyond having work that simply isn’t very good, the frustration that I am experiencing makes me not want to work on my writing in general, be that blog posts, the unfamiliar genre project, or my own personal writing projects. This lack of interest in writing is disappointing to me, as I often pride myself as being someone that has always loved to write. I know the purpose of this project is for kids to wobble, but that only works so much for me. I want there to be more of a balance between being frustrated and struggling and having more guidance from an outside voice through things like a rubric or more focused guidelines. I want to become better at a new genre, while also understanding more o what is expected of me. Grades aren’t the central focus of this project, or this class really, but they always seem to offer more of a path/direction for me to follow.

Enough of the negative… I can move beyond all of this, and focus more on what I should be doing to move beyond this frustration and writers block. Instead of just complaining, I have to think of what I can do to get beyond all of this. To focus on one of my biggest issues, the shift in voices, I could write each of the moments in my memoir on a different time or on different days. This would allow me to really focus on the each period in my life. If I tried to write the voices in one day, I may run into a problem of differentiating the voices. Additionally, if I’m choosing to write each setting on a different day, I can fully immerse myself into the setting of each period in my life. This gradual build up of my memoir will allow me to see how I want the story to link together as well as how to make the story flow more smoothly. Already, I’m feeling myself move past the previous frustrations as I think about the project in a more free-flowing situation.

Overall, there’s a lot I’ve discussed in this incredibly long winded blog post, and I apologize to my poor writing group members (forgive me s^3) that have to read this, but I do feel like this has helped me get through some of the biggest issues I’ve been having. Sometimes ranting is the only way to get through life.


2 thoughts on “Brain Block in Writing

  1. I totally accept your apology, don’t apologize though. I think it’s awesome that you are struggling (not in a mean way haha). That means that you are doing the project. Just continue to stick with your plan and I know you will be successful. Memoirs are hard because they make you realize a bunch of things you never knew before. This journey of self-discovery is going to pay off in the long run though. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel you, sister. I’m trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to re-write a chapter that’s overdue to an editor. I know I can do it because I’ve done it before, but shoring up the motivation…so. Hard.

    There’s a reason Robert Frost (a writer!) said that “the best way out is always through.”


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