This is a follow-up to my last post, in which I introduced a flowchart that I had created to describe my own feelings and insecurities about writing, particularly confessional writing. After showing that chart to Greg, he mentioned that at that point, all the paths were leading towards what we termed “walls.” That is, I was expanding upon my fears, but not allowing myself to build on those fears and actually create something out of what was paralysing me at the time. He suggested that I try turning those “walls” into “doors,” forging new paths in terms of potential creative writing content.
The next step that I took was to move to a bigger sheet of paper, and really expand upon what was previously a very concise flowchart. I started exploring further into the origins of my writer’s block, which meant that I went back into the past to find out why I started writing in the first place. Because I had been thinking about this for a very long time, and psychoanalysing myself in the process, what I found was that I had a very clear and elaborate thought structure explaining why I started writing, as opposed to the more chaotic and sparse map of my insecurities.
While this certainly isn’t the most well-designed flowchart, what I really enjoyed about this is the way I started creating a web of discourse with myself. I would write certain things in pen, and then come back in with pencil and question what I had just written a minute ago. This was really my first foray into the “meta,” which I pursued much more deliberately later in the year. I even started creating a separate column of problems that I had with the current format of the flowchart – should I decide to actually formalise it. Perhaps this wordiness is a barrier to a potential viewing audience, but in terms of actually formulating and working out my ideas, I think I personally gravitate towards this method. I think back even to my issues with my ‘A’ Level Coursework in JC, and how I would write to hash out all my problems and fears.
When looking over this flowchart, Greg brought up certain similarities between the way that I was processing my thoughts, and motifs in Jorge Luis Borges’ short stories (e.g., the labyrinth/maze). I started identifying certain areas within the overall flowchart that I felt constituted a “maze” of thoughts, and even identified mazes within mazes. Thinking that I should start trying to reorganise my flowchart and see what I could add/subtract from it, I made a post-it version that is still up on my wall today. The reason why I chose post-its was because I thought I would be able to move stuff around, add and remove where necessary, and so on.
Unfortunately, I never really made progress on this post-it flowchart. I think my mind just doesn’t work in this way – I’m too afraid to make changes, to stick something somewhere else. I’d much rather redo the whole thing again and again so that I’ll always have a record of what came before. In any case, I began to move on from the flowchart into some prose experiments.