Do not panic!
Sometimes I feel words turn inside me, slipping fish-like out of my grasp, back to the deep waters.
Sometimes I feel nothing, words gone blank and dead, burned out from nothing more than a slight change in chemical balance.
I reach for things I know
and find that the crystal clarity of conception has fled,
It's a knife edge, too tired, not tired, too hungry, not hungry, happy, not happy. Any of these can be right and any of them can be wrong and all of them are irrelevant when it's there, inside my head, pushing it's way down my spine and out through my fingertips.
I used to hate writing - English was my bane. At the age of 16 I attained a lowly D grade and even that was more than I expected. As a subject it never made sense to me, and it took another year and 2 resits before I attained the hallowed C grade that would allow me to pass through and on to University.
In all my time at university, I wrote precisely one essay that achieved a decent grade (a B, I believe). I don't remember the topic, but it was suitable vague enough for my imagination to suddenly catch fire. I saw a day and a night and a fall of snow. I saw cars carry men to work and children trudging through the crisp white, saw night fall and lights go on and off and then foxes and cats drew curving lines across the gardens and roads until the falling temperatures sent even them scuttling for the warmth of basket and den. Then a thin flurry of snow scrubbed everything white again, ready to being again.
I wrote this when I was slightly more than half my current age and it still remains in my memory, burnt there because it was something I had to say. I forced it out through fingers that never did what I wanted them to (every year, as the lore would have it, as the school year began, a shriek would emanate from the teacher's common area. And someone would wander over with a smile playing softly over the lips, gaze down at the workbook in their hands and say "Aah, so you've got Andrew Ducker this year. I see his handwriting's improved." and the shocked new teacher would disbelievingly reply "This is improved?").
When I went to university, I was given a computer (I'm a very lucky boy). A year later, I was writing all the time, overjoyed at the freedom that typing gave me. I can type at least 10 times as fast as I can write by hand. It's still nowhere near as fast as I think, but it's fast enough that I don't get completely bored and frustrated as I type. In fact, it's about the write speed that I can work out revisions as I type and get them right in my head before I get there. It also requires far less concentration - handwriting needs me to think about each line and curve that refuses to go anywhere near where I want it to. Keyboards have buttons big enough that I can be fairly inaccurate without it making a difference.
And then I stopped writing, for about 6 years. Because I thought too much about it and started thinking of my audience. And other people kept telling me I could "do something" with the writing. It stopped being fun and started being something I thought I should do. So I stopped.
Except that occasionally over that time something would get written. And I was still writing _to_ people, so occasionally I'd be a bit flowery or effectively write articles in the guise of newsgroup postings.
And then Joe
pointed me at Livejournal, with the result that I arrived here a mere 2 days after him. And slowly, I got some interest back and now I'm actually enjoying getting things down on paper. I'm even getting somewhere with the plan to try and get down what it is I think about some subjects. Sure, it's taking a fair amount of time, and it's taking the help of my friends to point out the mistakes I make and the ways I'm unclear, but I'm confident that I can build on it and get somewhere. And even if I don't I'll learn a lot along the way.