There's nothing to writers block but a lack of ideas. To write compulsively about one thing for a long time you have to really love your subject. I should know, I suffered from it for most of my twenties. And then I got an idea - a really good one - and spent a year and a half drafting it over and over again, writing blog posts about it, writing blog posts about writing, jotting down quotes and tweeting about it all too. Then late last year I started to feel self-conscious. Some may say it should have kicked in much earlier, back when I was posting about my word count, but I still wrote, I just no longer wanted to hit "publish".
Draft posts pile up in my Wordpress dashboard, with subjects as diverse as story lining and One Direction fans. Tweets are discarded. I have lots to say, but as soon as I imagine one of my thoughts or opinions out in the world and adding to the vast rubble of people's unasked-for OP-IN-YONS, I cringe and press delete.
It's not just blog posts and tweets either; I'm putting off ever getting a draft together for other people to read. The thought of another person reading what I have written frightens me. I spend days planning instead, forming the story in my head and watching as it shapes itself into something perfectly weighted and balanced, something independent of me.
It's not all down to procrastination; it's also oddly part of my development as a writer. As I become more self-conscious, my writing becomes less so. It is better as a result - more honest - and this makes it even harder to show to others, because it's more me. A neat conclusion is no longer enough, or a clever thought that chimes and sets its own pace, or a framework that derives more from the tissue of words than the smooth bones of thought.
(< That metaphor, for instance. When I started out, a good metaphor or conceit seemed to be the aim of writing - describing a thing by throwing it against something quite different - and my sentences bloomed with them. I'm starting to understand why it's important to pare them back, but the upshot of this is that my writing feels vulnerable, unconcealed.)
It makes me cringe. Is it unflinchingly honest, the testament of our times, the novel of our generation? Or is it garbage?
The suspicion that it's the latter keeps me from giving it to anyone else to read.
I'm forcing myself to publish this as a way to break the cycle.