Stress and Writers Block


For the last year I have been working, on and off, at a job which makes me extra crazy. It increases my stress, because as a tip based job, and a person with anxiety in general, it makes it extremely difficult to make any money. So for the past year I have been struggling not only to write, but resign myself to the necessity of working a job which does not help in any way in improving my mental health.

I have had a number of crappy jobs throughout my life, but it seems that the past few years, while I was trying to finish my Bachelor’s degree and find a suitable job afterwards I have been stuck in the miserable world of sales or equally uninviting jobs, which are based in private contracting and no guarantee of money.

In the end the stress from trying to find a new job and working ones I hate, has made it extremely difficult for me to feel as if I have much to say. Now every now and then I do get on a role. I post regularly and I feel good about that. However, in the past year, despite my spurts of inspiration, I have had some of the worst writer’s block of my life. At least while I was still in school, I could somehow reach into the depths of my mind to come up with something to write, even if it was just for a grade. Now, however, I’m not sure what to say. Also, when I do have something that seems a good idea to write about I seem at a loss of words when I sit down to my computer to write.

Now I’m not the first writer, and will not be the last, who suffers from poverty and writers block. However, while some writers continue to write despite the stress put on the by the lack of steady, or enough income, I seem to be unable to rise to the occasion. I am not sure why this is. I seem to be incapable of the simple act of turning on my computer and just putting words to page, or screen if you will. It is a maddening experience to have our mind strike an idea and not be able to put it into coherent wording. I don’t know if this is a normal experience for writers, but I cannot imagine that I am alone in this difficulty.

I know many writers who have suffered from stress induced writers block, and yet they managed, without friends forcing them, to push through and put words on the page. I only manage this feat when my friend sits me down and in no uncertain terms tells me that I have to write. To visit her means that I must write, if I don’t, then I sit in her room and watch her write and fret even more about my inability to do this seemingly simple act.

The fact is though, that when I am taken out of my normal stress-filled and silent home I can write. Even if it isn’t about anything meaningful, I manage to at the very least write about not being able to write. This in the end makes it more insane to claim writers block. When forced to write, I write. Otherwise, I read. However, once I get trapped in the world of books I can’t stop reading. While this helps with some of my anxiety, it doesn’t help me get out the words which live somewhere beneath the surface of my conscious mind and set them free into the world.

My only solution to the problem, seems to lie in finding a decent job, and going back to school. However, as easy as this may sound, the simple act of finding a job has been the basis for much of my stress in the past year and a half. Despite putting out hundreds of applications and resumes I have still come up with only the jobs which make me more stressed and lead to sickness and hospitalization. I actually get so stressed out while working a job where I am on commission, or I truly hate, that I end up making myself sick with stress. The other half of my solution costs money, and therefore adds a certain amount of stress in and of itself. I know what I plan to get my masters in, but getting into the program is the biggest obstacle of this plan. I might have the GPA and the reference letters, however I have to take the uninviting and $200 test known as the GRE. For those who don’t know about this test, it is the test you take to get into grad school. Like the SAT on steroids. With a healthy dose of test anxiety, especially with standardized tests, and a lack of income at the time of this writing, this seems an extremely difficult task. I’m not saying it cannot be done, I’m crazy so anything can be done; it just won’t be easy.

So I suppose that I will continue to visit my friend, write whatever pops into my OCD brain and hope for the best. I can only do so much on my own and the rest I have to leave to fate to do with what she will. I also have to believe that something or someone has a plan for me. If I don’t I would give up completely, and I’m just not interested in giving up. I am tired though. Tired of being sick, tired of not having words when I call them, and tired of not knowing how I’m going to survive.

If anyone out there has any advice, it would be welcome. However, I am a bit like little lost Alice in Wonderland, “I often give myself very good advice, but I very seldom listen.” So I consign myself to fate. I will continue to try to get a new job, and plan for school. I will write when I can, and I will continue to live as best I can. I might not be able to keep myself from being stressed over my situation, but I am the only one who can keep myself from giving up. I might be tired, but I am far from finished.

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