I’ve read that it’s harder to write when you’re happy, and far easier when you’re sad because tragedy and sadness lend themselves to writing decent prose/poetry far more than happiness. Misery is probably easier to portray, but writing when you are actually feeling sad can be tough.
Never short of ideas, and always keen to research new content, in 2015-16, I was hard hit by a few unpleasant events, the worst of which was death – of family and close friends – and lots of it. No shortage of material there. Yet I, who normally goes not a day without writing, struggled to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, brain to the job.
The harsh reality is that there are many times in life when you think:
- I can’t actually be bothered.
- I don’t care enough.
- Life is too short to be sitting at a desk.
All these sentiments happen for good reason; that reason is to give us head space to dwell on more immediate/important matters which our brains need to deal with. Could I knock out an article during hospital visiting, or while dealing with a wide range of people and emotions in life or death situations? No, I could not. I couldn’t even read. My concentration span was lost. Filling out official forms was creative challenge enough.
When people die or are seriously ill, writing often becomes a luxury we have little time or motivation for.
Eventually, while I was never able to write anything about my deeply missed late brother, the last shred of contact to my childhood self, I managed to write this tribute to a friend. It resonated with many people, including his family, and it was even suggested by someone that I write eulogies for a living! Lots of people seemed surprised that I could write it while grieving. However, it came from the heart; it flowed. It is not something I could do to order. Or even do again.
Best not to panic too much about blocks. As I expected, I did write again when the time felt right, and for those suffering the sadness block, there is comfort in knowing that the time will surely come.