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Paola Santos

Children's Book Author

My Writer's Block through Cultural Identity


The dreaded post and the imperfect line


You probably agree that facing a white paper can be daunting. Writer's block comes in different sizes and shapes: a novel, poetry, picture books, blogs, or a single social media line. Add to that doing it in a second language, when we sometimes try to shake off traces of our own cultural identity.


Writers Block
Photo by Paola Santos

Common fears to a self-imposed writer's block come in questions like, is this engaging enough? Would people find this interesting? What if they hate it!!


There are other fears, though. Am I using the right words? Is my grammar too odd? Will they get what I am trying to say? Yes, this is me all of the time.


I arrived in Canada when I was in my late twenties, wishing I had paid more attention to my English teacher. I am pretty good at writing in my mother tongue, and I’ve done all I can to close the gap and be great and both. But there is no use. My words are not perfect, my grammar is sometimes odd, and the meaning of what I try to say can get all twisted. Imperfect lines.


On top of that, I decided to pursue my dream of being a writer, no matter the language. It sounds crazy, and maybe I am.


Hiding or hoping?


Looking at these words, I wonder how many of us hide what makes us who we are. Are we pretending our cultural identity and language are inconvenient things we can put away? Are we trying to connect somehow with the memory of what we left behind, or hoping our identity will not be erased with time?


It took me a while, but now I recognize my culture and language are alive and intertwined with every aspect of my life, especially my writing. We cannot keep pulling the rope in different directions. We cannot hide and hope.

Sometimes, we give step after step wishing nobody can see through our impostor syndrome, our fears, or the deepest secrets of our souls. We forget that one way or the other, we are ALL in the same boat and that those fears, secrets, and hopes are the fuel of our creativity and the heart of our stories.


Grabbing our dreams


We are crossing this winding world of writing, rewriting, learning, failing, succeeding, and repeating over and over. We should be proud of not giving up, that our hopes keep us going forward, that we are grabbing our dreams despite our fears.


Yes, I dread this post and whatever comes after it, but I write these lines because my imperfect words are also part of my soul. After all, my vision and sense of the world should matter more than grammar.


I would like to share my world with you, and I wish to see the world through your eyes, too, and experience what you experience.


So, can you pull the rope toward hopes and actions and overwrite your writer's block? Can you open the cultural identity door and let your fears fly free? What are the obstacles you have to overcome?

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