The most contradictory statement to come out of my mouth recently has been “I can’t write”. This is coming from someone who has written 63 different posts about everything imaginable in the last three months. I even kept the word count down to roughly 500 to 1000 words to keep from rambling on. How is this life?
Since November, I’ve really reached some major milestones in my life. I’m a little bit more than 10 weeks away from completing the requirements for my first masters. I’ve reclaimed my financial stability and driver’s license from the clutches of Illinois and bad undergraduate decisions. I’ve found peace and joy in single-hood and solitude. Rediscovered old passions in cooking and writing. Life is really good now.
Except, when all that progress screeches to a halt. My only problem recently has been writing. My troubles have not been from writing on here where have unlimited space, freedom, and options. My struggles derived from Academic writing. It’s been painful. I’ve spent days, during the last two weeks, working on a portfolio that will solidify my graduation status. The problem was, no material would come out.
What was most absurd about my “creative’s block” was that I could have easily posted every day in the past two weeks. I feel bad for writing for pleasure instead of finishing up what was required of me. In the end, I produced 40 pages of new synthesis, analysis, and reflection material, alongside 50 pages of previous academic writing. I’ve never put together a 90-page document until now. It felt great but the process of getting there was nothing but arduous.
The process was plagued with doubt, anger, frustration, confusion, boredom, and moments of brilliance. The best part was when I hit that special spot in writing when nothing around me mattered. That was fun.
What was it that stifled me and held me back from completing this assignment months ago? Why was I so afraid of writing something that has been proven that I can be successful in? What made this portfolio so different from putting my feelings and personal thoughts out in the wide-open Internet? Finality.
This portfolio was supposed to condense my learning from five classes minimum, during the first year of my MPA program, into clear learning lessons and my plans for the future. I have a personal philosophy that if I say it, and speak it aloud, I must work to fulfill it. I have said this when dealing with ex-girlfriends, best friends, and personal promises. I’ve verified these beliefs with scripture from the Bible and integrated them into my daily life. “All a man has is his word”, “Word is bond”, and other stereotypical things like that. So, when asked what I learned and what I want to do with my life, I was frozen still.
The same way that I struggled with the first few posts on here, I struggled starting the process. I’ve had two false starts, three rebrands, multiple iterations of everything connected with me using my voice on here. Now, I’ve written more hose the last three months then the entire lifespan of my blog before then. Before November I’ve written 50 posts. I wrote 50 new blogs by January.
It’s refreshing send yourself overcome barriers, but in the midst, it’s the worst imaginable feeling. I eventually started to work myself through what things I was unhappy with myself. As I was forced to write the same things over and over again, I learned things about myself. I realize that I want to get better at communicating. Specifically, I want to improve on my use of visuals, presentations, clear and concise writing, reading, and speaking. I also want to see experts in these fields at work. I want to go to conferences and travel to new places but, I’m not sure about the best way to do that yet. I really want to improve and it took me hitting a 90-page wall for me to ground myself in that.
What are some barriers that you have faced that have taught you unexpected lessons? How do you go about personal reflection? What are some goals that you have for your own self-improvement? What are some professional desires you have? Let me know in the comments below.
P.S. Here’s the rest of the Writer’s Block Comic for you!!