Sitting in my French history class last week, the professor opened his PowerPoint up to a white slide with black, Arial text that simply read “May 1968.” In short, we learned about the uprising by student protesters at the Sorbonne campus in Paris, who were protesting what they saw as the systematic oppression of education by the government – funneling workers into factories instead of encouraging open intellectual discussion. These protests led to strikes across the country, leading non-unionized factory workers to get involved. Riots broke out and led to fights between students armed with rocks and France’s militarized police force with tear gas and clubs. The near-war still sits heavy in national memory and it all started from students’ ideological disagreements with the government.
All this to say, I was inspired. As I sat in class, the rest of my “notes” from that lecture were details that I wanted to include in a story: the origins of the conflict, the theme of ideological disagreement against capitalism, the underdog v. government power – I went on like this for almost a half an hour.
Then, class ended. I packed up everything like normal, still so excited to sit down and write the first scene in my head. So when I sat down in my apartment, leaving my backpack on the floor, I was confused when I couldn’t seem to get myself to write anything. I had details in my head, the entire theme and message of the story planned out in my head – why wasn’t I putting it down?
As this week has passed, I still haven’t written anything, but I found the reason why: I was afraid that it was already written. This is a silly excuse because A, I had no intention of putting this story into the world anyway and B, I had my own vision and idea. However, I still found myself searching through library catalogs, trying to prove to myself that this idea wasn’t original, wasn’t mine, wasn’t important enough to write.
I’m still pushing against that fear today. I want to write this because I think I will enjoy it, it will be fun, and I’ll be able to do historical research, which I really enjoy doing. Do you ever get stuck writing something because you feel like its not an original idea?