In the interview that inspired me to start blogging every day, Seth Godin suggested that you can overcome writer’s block by just writing the way you talk. He said something along the lines of, he doesn’t know of anyone who gets talker’s block. It was a glib remark that I accepted at the time because, well, I was just nodding along with him.
But in fact: Ahem. Over here. I do. I get talker’s block. All. The. Time.
Especially when I’m with people who, um, let’s say, take up a fair share of airtime. When they finally stop for breath and turn to me and say, so, what do you think, or so, what’s going on with you, I find myself sort of bubbling, like a fish out of water, uuuuuuh, I don’t know. I’m okay, I guess. And often, in the time it takes me to collect my thoughts, they’re off and running again and I’ve decided they don’t really want to hear what I think about meditation or my weight loss journey or how my mindfulness practice is going or indeed how my trip to Iceland was last year.
See, I’m what you might call a sociable introvert. I can be sociable enough, but if you want me to talk to you, you have to draw me out. If I sense that you’re not interested, I clam up.
If there’s the slightest breath of conflict in the air, I seize up, I get tongue-tied, I don’t know what to say, I get embarrassed, I feel like I’m babbling. I don’t like having to defend myself or my point of view. I’m happy to share it with you, and I’m happy to have a lively exchange of ideas, but it has to be an exchange. If I sense that you want to challenge me by poking holes in my argument, I just fall apart. It quickly becomes a downward spiral, and I tell you, it’s not pretty.
So I propose that there is indeed at least one person who does get talker’s block. And I suspect I’m not alone.