Writer’s Roadblock

So I hit a roadblock with my writing recently. I stalled. Ironically while writing a book about stalling and the need to let go to regain lift in life. Instead of doing that, I kept smacking my head against a brick wall. 

I am the master of not following my own advice. 

Eventually, I ceded defeat, downed tools, and went on the first holiday I’d been on in over 3 years. (No fucking joke!) 

But as soon as I returned, I found myself in the same creative rut. I couldn’t let go of this question I’d been chewing on. And you’re going to laugh. Here it is: What’s the meaning of life?

Truth be told, it’s tortured me a great deal of late. It’s plagued me precisely because I’m struggling to answer that question for myself.

Of course, that’s why we ask it in the first place. Out of desperation – usually following some major life event or change – because we don’t believe our lives currently are. 

But the moment we ask what it all means, we fall into a stupid trap. The goalposts only move further away. That’s because the question misses the point entirely. The purpose of meaning. 

Meaning isn’t some cosmic truth destined to come to you in the middle of the night (you can go back to sleep now). That’s because meaning is a mental construct. 

That means (ha) meaning is something we give to life. It’s something we instill. It’s something we have to cultivate. The meaning of life, therefore, is to cultivate meaning. The purpose of meaning is to give us purpose. 

So that’s problem one solved. 

Don’t ask what the meaning of life is; instead, think in terms of answering it. But how on earth are we supposed to do that? How do we even begin to determine what the right path for us might be?

The brutal truth is this: We don’t know. We can’t know. 

The only way to find out is to make a plan and then take a bold step in that direction. Only then will you know if you’re at least heading in the right direction, generally speaking, or if you need to pick a different path altogether. Even then, you still need to course correct. It’s not just the mountain we choose to climb that matters, but the pathway up it.

The big issue with this is the time and effort required. The older you get, the more you feel you must get it right. You don’t want to spend another 10 years in a career that isn’t right for you. If you’re going to go through the arduous process of climbing another mountain, you better make sure it’s the right one. 

Yet, the issue remains. We can only know if it’s the right mountain once we start climbing. Even then, it takes a while. Only after we’ve done most of the hard yards – after we’ve completed our degree and gotten a job or climbed up the corporate ladder – will we know for sure. 

When I started climbing the aviation mountain, I gave it very little thought. It seemed obvious to me that that was the mountain I should climb. I wanted to travel the world, and being a pilot was a fantastic way to do it. 

Now my motivations have changed. I want to pursue a path of deeper meaning. But I’m having the usual unrelenting doubts. Should I return to the safety of the mountain I’ve already climbed? I have two kids now. A mortgage to pay. The choice seems more complex than it once was. The risks seem more significant, the rewards less certain.

This is at the heart of my writer’s roadblock. I’m seeking answers to questions I can’t know until I put one foot in front of the other. Until I take that bold step into the unknown. 

The alternative is to keep smacking my head against a brick wall. At the very least, I know that isn’t working. 

You can find more of AP2’s writing here at: https://wiseandshinezine.com

You can also find him on Medium at: https://anxiouspilot2.medium.com

You can also email him directly at: anxiouspilot2@gmail.com


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12 thoughts on “Writer’s Roadblock

  • Thank you, AP2, for sharing another post that reveals amazing depth. It resonated very strongly to what “i” was going through several years ago.
    The first part that resonated was related to what you shared about writer’s block. In 2014, I published an ebook entitled “Hold That Thought” about the law of attraction. When the inspiration came to write it, in 2012, I felt the initial rush of enthusiasm, which lasted for about a day (truth); but it stalled when overthinking set in, and I wondered about the content of Chapter Two, etc. I’m grateful that I experienced a revelation: I thought to myself: “Wait a sec, Art, you’re infomrng people that it’s not important to know “how” our dreams will manifest; and yet you’re stewing about the way to write this book!” At that point, I just let go and fully trusted that the book would either happen…or not; and believe it or not, I was happy. The following day, the book began to write itself again and continued until the first draft was done about eleven days later.
    The second part of your post that resonated is connected to the false self that thinks it has to find meaning in life. That “self” (in your case “David”) is witnessed (known). Huh…by That which you truly are. The point that I’m trying to make is that you’re not the guy who might be struggling to find purpose in life. Our “person” is witnessed

    I hope that I haven’t offered too much. I only wanted to be of assistance, if possible. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Art – I so appreciate your comments – your gentle reminders to stop identifying the “I” with David. Still a lot of self identification going on that I have to work through. I hope you are well 🙂🙏


      • You’re very welcome, AP2. I’m not trying to pressure, in any way; just to offer information that may (or may not) feel right for you. The writing part, though–so true. It was when I relaxed (and “Art” got out of the way), that the writing flowed. That’s still the way that all of my posts come to me. For example, you could consider the title of my last post (“Yogananda’s Diving Board”). “Art”–in a thousand years of trying, couldn’t have come up with that title.
        All is well, thanks; and I hope it is with you, too. I believe in YOU and your writing talent! 🙏🏻


  • You’ve got yourself on an emotional rollercoaster, AP2. It makes me wish I could calm you down and remind you that you don’t need to figure out the answer to all these questions at once. The answers will slowly emerge and you should trust yourself to follow the best path … and, if at some point that path has too many bumps, you can take a turn onto a different path. The fact that you can write so expressively about your concerns is a clear indication of how your writing is going to be just fine. Your creative block will fade away and the thoughts and words will tumble forth. You need to be kind to yourself! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alas – I wish I could calm myself down at times too. Perhaps that’s the problem – wishing to feel other than I do? Instead of being kind and patient with myself as you wisely suggest. Thank you for your kind words Jane. I really appreciate it. I hope you are well 🙂🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’m stalled right there with you and frankly it IS terrifying! Not just with my resolve to write more but with a decision I am facing in regards to the direction of my career. Honestly, it’s a decision I feel I should make but don’t have to – what a privilege is that? I could keep treading the same water forever but something is pushing me to feel uncommitted to that endeavor! What if I make a mistake – take that first step in a new direction and it’s the WRONG one??? Sure, that might be okay for youngsters just getting their feet wet in the world – but I am in the second half of life (I should have this all figured out by now anyway!!) and I don’t have fiscal room for error. This stalled state brings up the questions you ask – what is the purpose of my life – what is it that I have been chasing all these years – and for what? I appreciate you putting words to my angst. Best to you!


  • Happy new year, AP. Glad to hear you got to go away and rest with your family.

    The writers block and that mental stump are very hard things to face and deal with. But it seems to me you are asking yourself the right questions and deciding to take the first step into the unknown is brave and the right thing to do.

    As Jane noted above, the good news is you don’t have to figure it out all at once. One step forward at a time will chip away at it and feel less overwhelming.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy new year Ab! It was a much needed break thank you. I think the writer’s block is just a side product of being overly concerned with the overall direction of my life. Once I’ve got a better idea of where I’m headed I’ve no doubt the muse will play ball again. Hope you and yours are well Ab 🙏🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hear ya. Moving to a new country no doubt adds to the concern and stress. Be kind with yourself. 🙏 And best wishes with your continued soul searching.

        Liked by 1 person

  • A sort of paradox isn’t it, do we think deeply about where we will go and plan where we will go? Or do we choose something which seems to fit the requirements and take the first steps towards the thing as soon as we can?

    Liked by 1 person

    • A bit of both. There is some planning – but a lot of it is feeling our way in the dark. When it comes to life you don’t need/can’t have it all mapped out. Like a car driving at night – you only need to see the bit out front. Cheers Hamish 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

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