Fear and the Art of Writer’s Block

I’ve been stuck at 57 pages in my story since January 10th. Having things like graduate school applications, studying for the GRE, and other things going on could be considered a legitimate excuse, or it could not because people don’t care for excuses. The real reason is writer’s block, also known as the worst thing in the history of creativity. I don’t know where I want the story to go. My brainstorming sessions that I’ve written down have all ended up in the trash. I don’t have enough conflict, many of my characters are too shallow, I don’t have a real antagonist, and I don’t really know where I even want the story itself to go. This is a problem. This problem scares me. It scares me because I could end up deleting everything I’ve written. There are some things that I’ve written so far that I really like. Things that I put a lot of thought, effort, and intellectual weight into. Things I’ve emotionally invested in. And it’s sad to me because I’ve come to the realization that a lot of it doesn’t work, not because the idea itself is bad, or even if a character isn’t any good, it’s just because it doesn’t work. The story (if you can call it that) isn’t actually a story at all, it’s just an ambition without a real plan in how to execute it. And that’s the scary part, realizing that I’m 57 pages in and I never really had a real plan, and now I’m at the point that I may need to start from scratch.

Life is a lot like that. We go after something that we really want yet don’t have a real plan, and then we are surprised by when we get stuck with something that’s going nowhere. This is how we end up trapped in a corner with a bad relationship, a job we hate, a degree that doesn’t fulfill us, or a house that is nice but is crippling your checkbook. If you look at our generation, you have people pursing things without ever really thinking through what they’re doing. And my book is an excellent example of that, or my desire to be a counselor. If I never had any structure to pursing my passions, then where am I really going? Nowhere. I need a plan. I need to think things through. The problem is that most people try to handle this plan by themselves. I am guilty of this. When you realize that you can’t do things on your own it scares you, and fear is something that creeps into your mind like a poison and slowly paralyzes you.

I’d be a liar if I said that I’m not afraid. To be honest, right now is one of the most fearful times of my life. I’m graduating college in May. I’m trying to get into graduate school. I’m looking around for new jobs and new opportunities. I’m basically on the verge of starting my 100% adult life, and I have no clue what I’m doing. What if I don’t get accepted to graduate school? What then? What am I going to do? Where am I going to live? What if I never find anyone? Am I going to be that weird guy who is single at 35? Am I going to be stuck in a job I hate because that’s the best I could do? WHAT AM I DOING?! So yes, I am afraid. Fear is a contagious condition that affects one part of your brain and seeps into others. Am I wrong to wonder if I’m really doing the right thing? Am I wrong to be afraid? In blunt terms, yes. God has blessed me with gifts and passions, and it’s an incredibly shortsighted and selfish thing to delude myself into thinking that he doesn’t care or already have a plan worked out for me. God will open the doors he wants me to walk through and close the ones he doesn’t. The main thing I have to do is just trust and keep walking.

I have to give my passions and fears to God. I have to give up my plan and let God take care of the plan, and ask him to point me along the path he’s set. It’s much easier said than done, and it’s something that I struggle with daily, trying to handle things myself. God has the plans. He has the paths. He opens the doors. Why am I afraid? What is wrong with me? Why is it so hard for me to trust God? Because I focus too much on how I don’t have a plan. I need to focus on how God already has the plan ready for me. I just have to ask him to guide me and to put my fears to rest. He’s got it under control. I just need to quit trying to take the wheel from him when I don’t have any clue where I’m going.

1 Comment

  1. I am where you are in life. It's scary and some days I wish I could pack my bags and know where I'll end up.

    The view from the crossroads can be unnerving. To the left is our family, friends and graduation. To the right is the future. The unknown. The Fog.

    Look at photos of yourself from high school and your early years of college. You'll notice something. You changed. For the better in some cases and for the worst in others. Its a fact of life. Some people get the answers early while others keep pondering.

    A prime example: My 27 year old brother getting engaged. I never saw it coming. I was scared I'd be the only one getting married and having kids in our family. Boy was I wrong. Now I find myself helping him plan the details of the engagement so its PERFECT! Asked me if he'd ever marry 2 years ago and I would have laughed. Now I see the kids and the family and everything in the future. The Fog cleared in a way.

    Like that example, our lives will be of the same path. You won't be 35 and alone unless you wish for it. The girl the job the future it will happen when you least expect it.

    What am I getting at?

    I'm getting at the fact that just live life to the fullest. Be that guy everyone wants to be but doesn't know how to be. You're already in the right direction. Follow the path and ignore the fog. It would be what God would want. Follow the light and none shall be lost 🙂

    Hope this helps!

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