Kgoshi Segagabi Nkgadima
I have been going through journalism school thinking I can write anything that is thrown at me. After all I studied journalism because writing was always second nature, I never struggled with the craft as a kid. That was until recently as many of us have to produce good quality pieces in a short space of time in offices and newsrooms where we work as interns, junior reporters or junior public relations practitioners.
I realised how much of a writing novice I am when I was faced with a quagmire of a situation recently. There I was facing a deadline and ideas just refused to come. I looked up at the ceiling, the computer, the ceiling, pieces of paper on my desk and then the computer again. The clock on the wall kept on tick-toking and tick-toking, reminding me that time was running out and I had to come up with something very quickly. I would scribble down what I would think is a brilliant idea, soon squash that piece of paper, I would start the process all over again. Soon I found myself drowning in a pool of paper on the floor. Time didn’t stop and hours passed.
I then realised I needed to cool down a bit, something this young journalism student had never experienced when writing. I thought a meeting with my boys would help so I took a walk down to road to meet up with a couple of friends who could help with the situation.
One of them said I could be experiencing ‘witer’s block’. Mmh, I’d heard about it, they speak about it on TV but I hadn’t bothered to even research it as it had never happened to me. I am often the master of ideas when it comes to writing, but the real world is showing me flames here and if I don’t research it and find a way to conquer it then my flames might become a huge fire.
I couldn’t get any ideas for my piece from my friends but at least they helped shed some light to my lack of ideas. I think it’s something every young journalism student must find out about because we never get it when we get low marks, until the real world says our pieces are not good enough and we struggle to come up with ideas that are worth getting published.
Journalists, writers and artists are always expected to produce works that capture, inspire and relate to their readers and audiences. Most artists and writers, whether experienced or not, crack under pressure with looming deadlines with editors expecting the final product to be presented in the shortest time possible.
Throughout history writer’s block has been a documented problem. References to writers' struggles with the affliction touch literary greats like F. Scott Fitzgerald. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite. Most writers will experience writer’s block one time or another.