On Writer Block

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds

On Writer Block

I’m an engineer and I suffer from writer block. It’s feels almost wrong to utter the word “writer” when I hardly even write. It’s like I’m getting a disease that I’m not even entitled to get. It’s like a vegetarian very loudly complaining about salmonella poisoning from raw meat.

But in all seriousness, I have tried and tried to write several things today for 5 hours and haven’t even been happy with anything I put down. I’m an engineer, and my writing has always been technical writing. It’s all about correctness and much less about story telling. Then I tried “tell a story” that doesn’t involve numbers, that didn’t go so well.

The first thought is always “who the f*** would read this?”

Oh The Fear!

It’s terrifying! It’s cribbing. Every time I’m writing on here, the first thought is “The internet will see my writing. The hive mind will punish me for such horrible writing. Everyone will criticize!” and so I launch into perfectionism. My second thought becomes “Maybe I shouldn’t put three exclamation marks at the end of the last sentence. That don’t seem right.” And then the third thought is “Also, should I use the word “three” or the number “3” in the last thought?” Then I forget what I was writing.

Repeatedly questioning everything I put down is exhausting. It’s like there is an invisible professor and a grammar nuts over my shoulder, slab in the wrist (possibly face) every time I write something that could potentially be perceived as amateur.

But in reality, probably no one will be reading this. And if some do, both of them might not even care enough to comment.

When My Taste Is Better Than My Work

From the ultimate wisdom of Ira Glass on storytelling, I’ll paraphrase:

You get into this creative work because you have good taste. But at the beginning, your work aren’t that good. And your killer taste can tell that your work sucks. Most people quit here.

Oh Ira Glass. You aren’t old but your words ooze wisdom. But here is the thing. Internet, I know what I wrote is crap, so thank you if you point it out. But Ira Glass also said:

The most important thing you can possibly do is to do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work.

So internet. Here is another dose of sh*tty writing. There will be more coming your way.


P.S. Let’s listen to Ira Glass again. For motivation.