I’ve been grappling with a writer’s block for months. The block comes at a time when I’ve experienced some amazing successes. Since January:
- I wrote and directed my first film, a seven-month project. We are now entering it into film festivals.
- I finished a massive freelance writing project. It was a long endeavor but well worth the money.
- I also took two acting classes in Atlanta, which was an extremely long commute from northern Alabama.
I’m still doing the work, plotting along and pretending there are no problems. But it is getting harder and harder to write.
A third of my problem is due to physical and emotion exhaustion. Another third is because I peeled off my skin to write this essay. These symptoms will go away with sleep, meditation and watching vintage TV.
The other third of my block is far more problematic. I’m convinced I will not be heard, that my best work is not good enough. Oh sure, people will pat me on the head and tell me I’m a good writer. But what does that mean?
Tracing it back a little more, the problem is I’m acutely aware of sexism. Whenever I go on Twitter, my feed is filled with news about inequality, and how women are getting the shaft. Sometimes I see good news, but then there’s usually a kicker about how we have a long way to go.
I don’t feel empowered reading this stuff.
I see how white guys (liberal and conservative) tend to support white guys who are exactly like them. Or I see white guys (liberal and conservative) who lecture and define reality for women. It’s not up to a liberal white guy to inform me about the level of prejudice I or other women experience every day. And it’s not up a liberal white guy to tell me how to be a feminist.
Does it sound like I’m picking on liberal white guys? I am. Particularly because I’m not a conservative and some of these guys claim to be allies. In my experience, they can be just as destructive as right-wingers.
I’m demoralized, and I sense there are women out there who feel the same way. Many times I can sense it when I speak to a female playwright. Some mask it in bravado; others handle it by disappearing completely from the scene. If you treat someone like she is invisible, she will soon believe it herself. And then she will behave that way. To fight against it requires an enormous amount of strength – power that she could be using to write her next great play or book or blog post.
I can physically feel words inside me and I’ve been quiet for far too long.