April has been a month of struggles with writer’s block. Indeed, the month started with a post already delayed due to writer’s block, and ended with a gap caused by another post delayed by writer’s block. Every post has been a huge uphill battle to write; words have proven usually viscous on the flow from my brain to the keyboard. There are many reasons why this may be, and I suspect it is a combination of all of them that is the cause of the problem.
Firstly, it might be partly content-related. A lot of April’s posts have had a bit of a non-linear format to them, and those are harder to write because there’s no inherent chronology to follow. Return to Borough Market was a prime example of this: I went through several drafts of that post, each with a slightly different format, trying to figure out the best way to present the images I wanted to share. My first post from Borough Market was a departure from my typical posts at the time, eschewing any in-line images and explanation in favour of a small amount of exposition and posting all of the images in a gallery. At the time, it felt like a little bit of a cop-out compared to my usual more wordy posts, but I was pushed for time, as I recall (history will show that my timing was totally perfect, of course). I wanted to avoid doing the same thing with my return trip. My original plan was to share a small selection of images with their story, and then and with a more comprehensive gallery. As I started, and struggled, to write the post, I ended up adding more and more images to the initial selection, making the text drag on quite a bit. Realising it wasn’t working, I wanted to try presenting the images another way, first informally separating them by type, and then formally separating them with headers and everything. Eventually I settled back on an informal separation, and hammered out a post. The end result wasn’t great, but I was at least happy with the quality of the images, which is something.
Secondly, I might have some head fog going on. It happens from time to time, especially when I’m not feeling as motivated in my work, as I’m not currently. Trying to keep to a posting schedule forces me to try to write through the fog, but it’s often slow going and doesn’t always mean I meet my own (self-imposed and admittedly a bit flexible) deadlines. The next post of the month suffered from both literal and figurative fog. Swanage in the Mist was still a challenge to write, even though it was a mostly straightforward, largely chronological post. What was expected to be a sunny day (not necessarily with any pictures) turned into a rerun of Things in the Mist. Despite the content of the post potentially being a ‘first I did this, then I did this’ post, the images were in themselves abstract enough to give me a bit of trouble linking them together. Normally such a post would flow more freely, but it still took more effort than normal to pull together. Given the subject matter, that was a bit disappointing.
Thirdly: distraction. Over the last year I have rediscovered my love of video games – more recently and specifically achievement hunting – and whereas a month or so ago my head was write first, play second, it has recently switched to the other way around. I still don’t play games on school nights, but even then attempts to write on these days (which are usually my main writing periods) have led to me being easily distracted by Twitter, RSS feeds and Reddit. Perhaps I need to turn my desire for gaming into a reward-based motivation: complete a post, play games. However I’m thirty years old now and somehow I suspect I’ll always be aware that things are very different from fifteen years ago when I was a teenager eager to finish his GCSE exams so he could play Nintendo. I tried something like this when writing Little Bit of London – the only post this month I scheduled ahead of time, rather than written to the wire. This post was a walk where I wasn’t entirely feeling inspired whilst shooting, so it was a little ironic that this was probably the easiest post to write this month. I was pleased with some of the pictures that resulted from the walk, but like the rest of the month the images were all a bit abstract, albeit easier to link chronologically.
What would have been the next post of the month proved hard to write again. That one is mainly chronological, but distractions, motivation, and the fact the images were shot six months ago so my recollection is getting a bit hazy all combined to mean it never got finished in time, and as ever I give priority to monthly reviews when posts are running late. It’ll be along in May, but I’m not certain when – I am thinking it might be a good idea to take a considered, planned break for a week to try to clear my head and come back (hopefully) refreshed.
Thanks for sticking with me.