How Information Overload Turns Into Writer's Block


My morning ritual is pretty consistent. I hop up out my bed, turn my swag on, I look myself in the mirror and say “what’s up!?”. Every morning. That is followed by my morning constitutional where I catch up on the news.


And there is always news. In fact there is so much news nowadays that it is overwhelming. And I’m not an overwhelmed kind of cat. My resting bitch face has been known to give off “not whelmed at all.” But right now? There is literally too much news and information. And in the space that I live in - the writerly one - it’s created an interesting problem: I literally want to write about everything making it hard to write about any of it.

Just today, scrolling through Facebook, the following stories are worthy of note: the acquittal of the cop who killed Sylville Smith in Wisconsin, Trump’s fuckery of any sort, the Philando Castille video, North Carolina having a law on the books that states that once sex has started a woman cannot legally stop it (that’s real), the fact that so many men are really fucking rapey and how scary that shit is, Queen Sugar’s return to the OWN Network, that Zadie Smith piece, the Senate health care plan,  Al Sharpton's selfies, Phil Jackson attempting to ruin his entire legacy, etc.

All and each of those things is important in it’s own right. There is no shortage of words that can be expended on each topic and all of them would likely spur a conversation that needs to happen. There are a million conversations that we’re all waiting to have on any number of things that matter to the community in this fight for liberation and other words that sociologists use. That’s another thing I’d like to write about, Black Liberation lexicography, which may or may not be the right word but I’m going to use it anyway. And I want to write about that because I feel like I let the community down sometimes because I don’t know all the proper words to use and when to use them. I JUST got up on properly using “the fallacy of reality” in my not-quite-poems poetry and now I be fucking up the struggle terminology. Again, I’d like to write about that, because like soul music, language is life.

One of my go-tos when I can’t think of anything to write or I can’t siphon my thoughts into a cogent address, is music. Typically, I can write about music all day, every day, any damn day. It is another sphere where there’s no shortage of information and material. Yet, even there, in my happy-and-not-sunken-place, becomes overwhelming because I consume so much music and people send me so much music to consume and within the music world are shenanigans aplenty as well. And shenanigans are my oyster.

But again, there’s so much shenanigans, which is just ratchet information. So, so much. If you were to look at the drafts folder in my Gmail inbox, it’s LITTERED with drafts of pieces I started or of one-sentence ideas that I need to get off the ground rooted in some news article or some conversation I heard or was part of. Seriously, I have ideas in there (same with my phone) from 2015 that I STILL want to write about but can’t get going because all of this NEW stuff is sitting there, asking for some lettering.

I realize I’m neither unique or special in that regard. For every piece that makes it up somewhere, there are hundreds of unfinished or unwritten pieces languishing in the hallways of the mind. Some of it is being plugged up with real world obligations tied to current employment. And if you knew what I did then you’d be like, okay, that makes sense and in fact how are you able to do any of this. Busy times, my friend. Stay thirsty.


But the desire to write something, anything, is always there and I feel like it sits there for most of us who write. Especially those of us who are cultural writers or archivists or whatever fun term I’m going to call myself over time to make myself sound awesome to my children. This is why they say you just have to keep writing. Everything won’t be award-worthy. Some shit you write gets you from dope drop to dope drop. And also, it’s impossible to NOT stay up on news; Facebook makes that almost impossible.

I don’t see the information overload ending any time soon either. We live in a time when information is being disseminated in every way possible. Even the least woke individual is up on something going on in the world. So pushing through is the only order of the day. Like a shooter in a slump, you have to keep shooting to get yourself out of it. And that’s what we have to do in this information overload vortex as writers; write it out, bitch. But it is important to acknowledge the effects of information overload.


So I ask you, how does information overload, of which I’m sure most people deal with nowadays, affect you and your connection with the world?

Inquiring minds would like to know.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.



Also I must say….VSB is the biggest time sink I have in my life.

More than eating, video games, and traveling.

This site could be the death of me.