The Death of Writers​ Block

Death has always been something different for me than the rest of my family. Sometimes it’s like standing on the outside of a glass bubble. I can press my hands against it, feel it, and deny its there all at the same time. This can also be applied to the way I feel writer’s block, something that’s been plaguing me for months.

My mother passed away in May of 2018. In July, my grandfather joined her, and at the beginning of August, my other grandfather also passed. The glass bubble grew thicker with each person. Instead of breaking, my heart lost itself in a maze of denial, of nights spent staring at the ceiling thinking of everything and nothing all at the same time.

Before everything, when the world hadn’t broken apart, I had considered myself a serious writer. I’ve completed three novels; an accomplishment for someone who’s only nineteen, or so I’ve been praised. Currently, I’m in the middle of my fourth, the second book in a series that has defined my life for years. After I lost my grandfather, it all came to a screeching halt.

As writers, we learn that we can fix things. It might take some planning, some painstaking backtracking and replotting, but we can always fix it. It is our work, it stems from a part of us, and we can always control where is goes. Death, however, isn’t something that can be bandaged back together by changing tenses or fixing verbs. It permanent, inked into skin like a tattoo. There is no rewriting. There is no backspace button, no second chance at fixing the plot.

Since July 30th, the last day my grandfather took a breath, I haven’t been able to write a single word in the book he was so proud to see me putting together. It’s like choking on air, the same air that used to keep me going when the rest of the world seemed so hopeless. It makes me ashamed to know that I don’t have the energy to spit out even a couple of sentences. When he left, he took my words with him.

But I know I’ll make do. I’ll survive, just like I always have, with a couple of notebooks and a good pen.

I’m learning how to use words again. They aren’t the same ones I could muster up two months ago. I’ll need to go back and fix everything I’ve written up until now. It’s hard, so painfully hard, but writer’s block is a monster in my closet that I intend to rip apart with creativity. I’ve written more in my life than I’ve spoken. I have file after file, journal after journal, all filled to the brim with words that have defined me over the years. I’ve spent sleepless nights raining my wrath down on a keyboard with the desperation of being heard and my voice will not be silenced because I can’t break through a stupid bubble.

So in short, the world will keep going. I will keep going. I have plans to finish the book before the end of 2018, during NaNoWriMo and during December​ when school lets out. Writer’s block is something we all face in different circumstances in our lives, but as writer’s, we have to learn to get passed it. That is the hardest part but it is also the most satisfying thing in the world once we succeed. Break the bubble, the one in your heart and the one on your page, and push forward.

Heather Berglund

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