On Writing

For most of 2013 I was unable to write. Part of my dilemma was circumstantial, but most of it was a gigantic case of writer’s block. I felt crippled, unable to form words or sentences that had any meaning. It has been terrible.

I tried a half-dozen different ways to unblock myself, but still, my cursor would blink on an empty screen. It was like I was in a contest with that damn cursor, a contest I had no hope of winning.

And then, just a few days ago, I found a revolutionary-to-me solution. A notebook. Not a pretty notebook, not one that was bound in leather, or with gold gilt on the pages. Just a regular, $0.99 cent spiral-bound single-subject notebook and a black, Bic pen. Nothing fancy, nothing special. Suddenly, the pressure is gone. I can write pages and pages! Sure, my hand gets crampy and my writing is mostly illegible, but I’m okay with that. I can read it well enough to copy it onto my laptop if it’s something I want to share. And if it’s not something I want to share, I’m not “messing up” a page in a beautiful notebook with scribbles or drivel, nor do I feel like I need to remove a less-than-perfect page from a spiral notebook (as, admittedly, I have done in many a pretty one).

I didn’t realize this, but I must have felt that a beautiful notebook or journal only deserved beautiful, meaningful, long-lasting writing in it. And that, my friends, is crippling. To feel that everything you produce must be perfect on the first attempt, or at least, only need minor edits. Gaah, it’s ludicrous! How could I be so….so stupid!? So shackled!? So tied to this supposition that anything less than perfect was not worth attempting?

As I thought about this (while writing this post, long-hand, on page 17 of my started-yesterday-but-filling-up-nicely notebook) it occurred to me that, just maybe, my scribbly notebooks may be worth more than a hardcover published work. The thought processes, the frustrations, the attempts, the marginalia…there is intrinsic value in that type of writing. And I knew it, but didn’t think it applied to me. Sigh. Sometimes, I really surprise myself at my own obtuseness.

I have missed writing.

Harriet sig

0 thoughts on “On Writing

  1. DahnStarr

    I in turn have missed your writing as well. Pen and plain paper writing is the best for truly expressing how you feel and think at the time. Did that a few years ago when trying to workout my feelings regarding a relationship. After I was done ‘venting’ I hid the notebook away. Took it out a few months ago, gave it a brief read over and was able to tear it up. I didn’t need to keep all of those feelings around forever in a fancy notebook but I did need to get them out of my system. Glad your writing grove it back!

  2. Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks

    When circumstances dictate that you not talk or write about a particular subject, it definitely affects your ability to write about everything else. Because, at some point, our lives are circular and when they circle back to that point we cannot discuss, well, we cannot write. Very happy to hear you’ve figured out a way to get around that obstacle. Writing is so freeing, especially to writers who need writing to bring stability and clarity to their lives.

    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      Absolutely. This! Yes! ABSOLUTELY THIS!

      I am constantly shocked that I somehow seem to forget this essential truth about myself, and am again shocked when I am smacked upside the head with the reminder.

      Dear Harriet. Just Keep Writing!


  3. San

    Oh, i totally relate to that…. I feel like I can’t really write much these days, even tough I want to so badly. Maybe I need a notebook 🙂


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