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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)

TITLE: Writer's Block
By nicole wian
07/27/08


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Concentrate, Ashley told herself. Her fingers were poised but nothing came to mind. She hadn’t written in weeks, was experiencing for the first time writer’s block. She’d always been able to write at will. What was going on with her? She’d tried everything; writing at different times, giving herself mock assignments, even planning rewards if she typed at least a few sentences, but nothing was working. She’d type those few sentences, then read them, realize they amounted to nothing worthwhile, and delete them.

And the writer’s block was leading to an emotional block. Even when not at her computer, she’d stare into space, unable to do anything productive. She was definitely in a rut.

Unable to release what was inside her was making her feel like a walking zombie. She was going through life without experiencing. It used to be that wherever she was, she’d observe, taking note of anything interesting or funny to use later in her writing. Even sitting in traffic used to inspire her into metaphoric thought.

Then one day, that was gone. She had nothing. Nothing stood out to her anymore. Every time she sat down to write, she’d inevitably only write about the inability to write, about the dreaded writer’s block.

Finally, frustrated, she closed her laptop. She stood from her desk and went and laid on the couch. She closed her eyes, thinking about how writing had always gotten her by. She’d started young, journaling the details of life, and from there, the writing took on a life of it’s own. She’d created stories, almost as therapy, the words weaving comfort as she read and reread them. It seemed she couldn’t feel without it, or maybe couldn’t process her feelings.

Ashley sat up then, working out exactly what it was she’d just realized. Her brow furrowed as this thought hit her. She wasn’t in an emotional block because of the writer’s block. It was the other way around. She couldn’t write because she wasn’t feeling. She’d shut down, pent it up.

This simple epiphany, forced her back to her desk. She slowly opened her laptop again. She needed to write about what had happened. The thing she hadn’t been facing, which she’d pushed from her mind for so long, she’d come to believe it might someday go away. Maybe it almost had, these last weeks, but so had everything else, including her writing. She had to get rid of it, even if that meant putting it on paper, giving truth to it. She hadn’t even known she’d been afraid of that, but now saw that it had been fear.

So now she put her head down, preparing. Not thinking. In fact, not concentrating. Not planning what she‘d write, just encouraging herself to begin the process. And when she did, it began to flow. She let go of concentration, of trying to make sense out of sentences, of analyzing her topic. She just gave it up to the paper, her fingers gaining speed, to catch up with her now opened mind. She didn’t let herself stop, knowing there would be the temptation to go back and read what she’d written. She wasn’t ready for that. So she just wrote; everything that came to mind. She’d kept it in too long, and when it had threatened to rise up, in order to tune it out, she’d tuned out everything else. So now, out it came. Evening became night, and she stopped only to flick her lamp on, then returned her hands to the keyboard.

Finally, she’d written it all, come to closure. She wiped her eyes, hadn’t even known she’d been crying while writing. She still didn’t read it. But she printed it. Fifteen single spaced pages spewed from the printer. She picked them up, in order, but face down. She didn’t want to read it. She knew what she’d written. Not knowing yet what she would do with this document, she placed it under her laptop and prepared for bed.

Already, she felt lighter. She slept peacefully, and when she woke, she knew what to do. She retrieved the document, and still not looking at the words, folded it in two. Then she placed her writing inside an envelope and sealed it. With a permanent marker, she wrote three letters on the envelope.

It would go to who it belonged to; God. And she’d never read it. She’d delete it, because now it was His. She’d been released. Now she could concentrate on moving forward.


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Member Comments
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Sunny Loomis 08/02/08
Sometimes it does help to write things down in order to move forward. Good story of a writer's block.