The Work-Induced Writer’s Block

 

I like to write.  It’s kind of a strange thing I feel.  I don’t normally seek to have my work read.  Usually, anything creative I make is for my eyes alone, or that of a small group of close friends.  I don’t really crave an audience for my work, but I like to write anyway.  I like to create worlds, characters, and stories, I like putting my thoughts into words, I like slipping blatant remarks about how good I look into blocks of text, and I like taking what’s in my mind and giving it a more permanent form.  It’s an activity I find very engaging, and it really gives me a lot of fulfillment.

Sometimes, I have to do a lot of writing for my job.  And not the fun kind of writing.  I’m not in the right industry for that.  I get to do a lot of writing for foundation grants, government paperwork, and various other pieces of bureaucratic necessity.  And lately, it’s been hitting the time of year where it seems that all I’m doing for eight hours a day is stare at a word processor while my fingers numbly type words onto the screen.  In small amounts, I don’t mind it.  It’s just part of the job, and while it may not be the most fun thing to do, it’s something that’s well within my abilities.  The problems only come up when I’m spending hours upon hours of doing that.  Is it possible to get writing fatigue?  If so, it feels like that’s what I have.  After a long enough time of being forced to write the most droll things imaginable, it gets to the point where I’m just numbly typing words onto the screen.  I lose the feeling of a good piece of prose just being “right” for the idea I’m trying to get across, and anything I type feels dull, bland, and just slightly off the mark of what I was trying to convey, no matter how good the work actually is upon review.

The worst part is, this feeling follows me home.  Writing too much at work leaves me too burnt out to do any quality writing for enjoyment.  Just yesterday, I was working on one of the large blog posts I have planned, and I had to can most everything I did because it all feels just slightly wrong.  I have been putting too many words on the page over the past week, and they’re all starting to run together in my head.  It’s not a problem with ideas, I know exactly what I’m wanting to get down.  It’s a problem with finding the words.  Everything I write just seems to fail at getting the idea across.

I know I’m not alone in this problem.  Talking to others, I’ve heard several accounts of people just writing too much of the wrong thing, and not being able to mentally switch tracks back to what they really want to write.  What do you do about it, though?  That’s one thing I haven’t heard a solid answer to.  Me?  Apparently, I write blog posts about writer’s block.  Let’s see if that fixes anything.

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