“Back to Work Blues” and Writer’s Block

It is the beginning of the working week for the year 2020. Some of us are probably still feeling tired and lazy.

Some are wrapped up with plans and seriously thinking that something positive could happen this year. Of course, it’s New Year – a new idea, new hope, and a new beginning.

We all want to have a fresh start. That is what the new year means for all of us. It marks a new beginning – to restart and to do things better.

The holiday season may be a welcome break for all of us, but to others, it is a bit of disruption to their daily routine.

The gap between Christmas and New Year is so small, only one week to be exact. Yet, it felt like it was a lengthy vacation.

We allowed ourselves to overindulge with all the things we would never do in our regular daily routines. We drank too much alcohol. We ate junk foods, lots of sweets, stayed up late at night, and the list could go on and on.

Then, we all must face reality. We must go back to work.  

Going back to work to continue what we left behind is a struggle. It is hard to go back to our desk that was once cluttered with notes and papers, and where all electronic devices never get turned off.

Somehow, we must return to our desk to continue what we left behind during the festive season.

Whatever we have on our plate this year, our writing should always have a spot in our busy calendar. Otherwise, it will never get done.

I could understand the feeling of being a little bit anxious, especially turning on that computer again and thinking about what to write.

We feel that we have lost our momentum in writing. No matter how much we shake our heads, nothing is coming out, not a word or a single idea.

It felt like we are facing a brick wall, and we could not see anything behind it.

We want to break that wall in front of us, so we could think again, but it seems harder and frustrating.

It is hard when you are still feeling nostalgic about your vacation and wishing it never ended.

It is hard too when all you could think of is to check your social media content for photos and messages from your friends and families.

We shared a good laugh and memorable moments with them. Reminiscing those times how we acted silly and funny, and it was perfectly okay with them. Wiping off that smile on our face was hard because that was the only time, we let ourselves lose and vulnerable.

And that should have been enough.

Instead, we couldn’t shake them off our heads. We yawned in front of that bright screen on our computer. Our heads are empty. That brick wall in front of us seems to get bigger and taller. We couldn’t see anything except flashbacks of the best Christmas break we had.

Our daily writing routine would slowly come back to us. Perhaps, we would have already thought of something better to make our working schedules more achievable.

To ease back to work would take a little bit of time. But, whatever you do, make sure that it doesn’t take you that long.

There is no excuse for why we couldn’t write. We had our breaks, our time out from the daily grinds in our life.

It’s time to go back to work.

If we continue to make excuses, we will never write again.


The Struggles of Being a New Author (The First Time is Never Easy)

Read! Read! Read! Sounds familiar? I went through this at the early stage of my writing journey. It is good advice, especially for an emerging author like me.

I dread long readings. It makes me tired, sleepy and hungry. If there were ways, I would skip the “reading part” and go on writing. I have a long list of excuses not to read, but at the end of the day, I still need to open some books to read and learn. It is not mandatory or a requirement to become an author, but it would surely help us to be a good one.

And so, I read. I burnt both sides of the candle, as the saying goes, reading from early morning till the sun comes up. The books on my bed almost became my pillows, and trust me; it does hurt, you know. I flipped through the pages of some of the books written by those great and famous authors and read one or two pages to find out what made them stand out from the others. By morning, I still couldn’t make up my mind how to begin my story. I have a good story to tell. It was all there in my head but putting words to paper was a real challenge. All I want was to write and express my thoughts and put my imaginations into play, and then see what happens next.

Read! Read! Read! It was not so entertaining to hear this at the back of your head. It is good advice, but I couldn’t figure out where it fits into my writing dilemma. So, I reread more books. Occasionally, I made some excuses not to read. I borrowed at the library all kinds of books and read them all. As I said before, those books are not as good as my old pillows.

One thing though, writing became easy afterwards. I was moving forward fast and non-stop. Five hundred words glided smoothly, then came a thousand words. My first page was starting to fill up, even though I cheated a little bit by making my margins wider and double the line spacing. Then finally, I wrote my first two thousand words. Hurray! I thought it was a great accomplishment. The only downside to this was, I noticed that I write like them, and I began to sound like them too.

I hit a roadblock. I want to achieve all those required of me to write and produce an outstanding story. I doubted myself again. So, I read. I immersed myself reading and learning a little bit here, a few more there, and everything in between. I fleshed out every word and sentences I came across in the book. I dissected the whole story, chapter by chapter as if I was looking for something. It was a challenging mental activity. What I found was “nothing”, only a great story all written with pure intention straight from the heart of the author. They were well researched, and everything stamped mark with the author’s writing style, tone and voice.

I figured out that those books I read should only serve me as guidelines and not a template. All the rest should come from me-my style of writing, tone and voice. I wouldn’t say that I have already perfected my craft, but the journey of learning new things is so rewarding. Of course, writing and reading more often is beneficial to our career. It sharpens our skills and imaginations. I am still learning, and I know that there are so much more I need to learn before I become a better author. I always peek through those books to guide me.

I believe that commitment and persistence would take me one day to where I want to be. When I started my journey, I have so many excuses not to do things. I doubted myself and my abilities that I can do anything. But, those books that I read, and those authors that I barely knew, gave me reasons to stay focus and “just keep on writing”.

What about you guys. What excuses have you made?