I haven’t been keeping up with the weekly writing challenge recently, which is unfortunate since it’s only been six weeks into the year. It feels like months have passed and we’re already on the tail end of 2017. But it’s still February and Trump has been in office for only four weeks. Goddamn. Only four weeks?!
I’ve started a number of drafts over the last two weeks but never felt motivated or inspired to finish them. I couldn’t quite figure out why I felt unmoved to write. Why I felt uninspired. Why I had this block.
This wasn’t an ordinary writer’s block. It felt much more sinister than just a mere blockage of creative flow. What’s happening right now?
I kept asking myself that.
Then I noticed that it wasn’t just my writing that was taking a hit. It appears as though everything has taken a hit from this sinister something: my mental state, my attitude, my relationship. I also felt distracted and angrier than usual.
Then it dawned on me.
While I was watching the man-baby president give his joint press conference with Netanyahu, I realized that the blockage was due to the constant inundation of all things man-baby president.
On Vitae, a Chronicle of Higher Ed blog, Theresa MacPhail shares how her writing flow has suffered:
I am supposed to be writing. In all probability, so are you.
Instead, many of us are scrolling through news updates, skimming the latest hot takes, refreshing our social-media feeds, and worrying about our collective future.
We’re not writing, or we’re not writing like we want to be. And how can we, asks MacPhail, when there’s a sense of urgency for immediate action? A sense of FOMO? What can writing, a solitary task, do in the current political climate?
Although MacPhail focuses on scholarly writing, her sentiment is applicable to everyone. We’re all trying to write about stuff but some of us are experiencing a blockage. A blockage that, no doubt, can be attributed to the man-baby in the White House who fancies himself America’s salvation.
I’m pretty sure I’m not suffering from FOMO. I’m not religiously checking to see what crazy, nonsensical shit the president has been tweeting, but I am watching. I’m not watching because I support him but out of some unexplored sense of obligation to keep abreast with what he’s saying to prepare myself for the inevitable consequences when his words become action.
It’s tiring. It’s distracting.
“It’s hard to work when you’re using up all your energy online,” writes MacPhail, and she’s right. How can we strike that balance between staying informed and getting back to writing? I’m still figuring that one out, but short of completely abandoning writing, some of the important suggestions MacPhail gives is to stop feeling guilty about not writing, and know that it’s okay to step away from the 24/7 news cycle of current events.
We have to endure this man-baby president for four years. What good are we if we use up our energy in the first few months? There are moments when we’ll need to sprint but we have to think long term, too. And writing may not have as much of an immediate impact the way protests might, but writing can be just as important as a form of resistance.
Don’t be silenced. Keep writing. Channel that energy.