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  • Marissa Burr

Writer's Block

By Marissa Burr, Opinion Editor

Not every week is an “article worthy” one where a writer experiences something so inspiring that it compels them to get the whole thing down on paper for the world. Sometimes the days are mundane, others exhausting in a way that makes you believe that even if you were able to publish their events, no one would want to read them.

As an aspiring author, this is terrifying. There’s nothing I hate more than when Thursday afternoons come around and I can’t seem to put pen to paper — or, in my case, fingers to keyboard — in a way that would make readers want to continue coming back to my column each week. What happens when this is more than an extracurricular activity with semi-low pressure and instead it’s my actual career? I’ll have tighter deadlines to meet and harsher bosses to appease than the wonderful staff of The Griffin. Will I crack under the pressure?

It’s not that I haven’t had writer's block before. In all honesty, I usually don’t have the time or energy to write anything for the column until Wednesday evenings after a restaurant shift; but once that time hits, the words flow out of me and I can’t seem to get them out of my head fast enough. I can whip out an article that I at least feel confident with, if not love, in a couple hours. But this specific time period between publications feels different.

I’m not going to lie, the reasons for my feelings are not a total mystery to me. I won’t get into details, but last week was very difficult for my mental health. Since this past weekend I’ve just been trying to recover from that and get back to a sense of normalcy. This hasn’t been easy, because I’m not completely recovered in the first place, and yet I’ve been thrown back into my stressful daily life. Class, long nights at work and multiple events coming up that I am both excited for but also stressed beyond belief about. It only makes sense that I’m struggling — I’ve accepted that.

See, what I’ve chosen to focus on is the progress I’ve made instead of the roadblocks that have come up that are holding me back. For instance, I am performing in a chorale concert on March 3, the first one I’ve done since my senior year of high school over three years ago. They used to spark terrible panic attacks that I was just learning to deal with when the world shut down. With the recent dip in my mental stability, the idea of getting up on stage and singing in front of an audience again is definitely stressing me out. I’m still doing it though, which is progress. Another example is The Griffin’s editors upcoming trip to California. I’ve never flown on a plane for more than three hours before, nor have I been away from everyone in my immediate circle of support for that long. I am unbelievably excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but there’s been a lot of corresponding panic that’s accompanied the elation. But I haven’t backed out of the trip, nor do I intend to. More progress: no more letting my anxiety hold me back from living my life the way I want to.

I’m still struggling though, which is why writing has been difficult for me this week. Negative voices in my head tell me that no one cares about the challenges I’m facing and if I write about them, no one will be interested. I guess that I’m hoping it’s the opposite; anyone can write about how everything in their life is going well. We all want to believe that there’s only good things ahead. I’m not hating on those stories either, I love reading them and have some of my own. The good days are not any less real than the bad ones — it’s all about balance. We all live lives full of joy and sorrow, and nobody thinks less of you because you admit to not having only the most wonderful days. It makes us human.

So next time you’re having writer’s block like I am, just start putting your thoughts into sentences. They’ll start to make sense and come together in a beautiful masterpiece that is perfectly you.

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