The cursor blinks on my blank screen. Music plays through my headphones and I open my mind with the question,” What shall I write about today?”
I breathe into my belly and pull my navel in softly as the air flows back out.
Moments tumble through my mind that have happened over the last couple of days, but I reject each one as they aren’t what I want to talk about today, not that I clearly know exactly what I do want to talk about.
I smile at the blinking cursor, feeling my feet on the floor, and decide to write about this moment right here.
I think a lot of writers find themselves here regularly. It’s time to write, but what to write about? I have no idea. And where I might have been annoyed in the past, I find it humorous now. What I write about is my choice, and just because my mind is presenting me with frustrating parenting moment after frustrating parenting moment, doesn’t mean that those are the right things to write about.
And so I choose to write about not knowing what to write about.
Am I broken because I don’t know what to write about? Nope, though my mind might tell me so. Am I a bad writer? Nah, that’s not it either. I have written dozens of newspaper columns, advertisements, thousands of social media posts, hundreds of blogs, and now a book. There is no doubt in my mind anymore that I am a writer.
And for me, the proof at this moment is that I am staring at a blank screen, and inviting words to come to the page.
Being inspired doesn’t make me a writer. Being a word wizard doesn’t make me a writer either, though it’s helpful. Knowing what to write before I sit down? No, that’s also not a requirement. Writing. That is required. When I don’t know what to write when what I have to write about is hard to unpack when I’m up against a deadline and the pressure is on, what makes me a writer is that I put words on the page.
It’s the practice in the moment. I will never, ever be a perfect writer. I will make grammar errors, publish blogs with spelling mistakes in them, and get my ideas rejected from publishers, newspapers, and magazines. And yet I will continue to be a writer because I will continue to put words on the page.
I have to. It’s what I am built for.
I have shared this video a few times here before, and I am going to share it again. Liz Gilbert talked in her first TED talk about creativity, and the creator. It’s a brilliant talk, and it completely changed the way I think about the work I do when I first watched it years ago.
If you are struggling with writers’ block, if perfection is an obstacle for you, then I invite you to watch this talk and see if it doesn’t challenge your ideas about creativity, and the creative life.