Writer's block is not a writer's friend but seems anyway to be a constant companion, standing just off to the side waiting for the opportunity to assert itself when the writer hesitates for one moment. Another constant companion to the writer is the mean editor that lives in her mind, taunting her with harsh, deprecating criticism. I am convinced that these two - Mr. Block and Ms. Editor - constantly plot and scheme together, determined to paralyze the writer, rendering her useless. Why would they do that? Well, I can think of no explanation except that they are minions of Satan himself...ok, maybe not. In any case, in March of 2006 I wrote the blog post that follows. I was fighting them then, as I am now and have hundreds of times in the interim. Knowing it's just part of the writer's life doesn't make it any easier!
I’ve been stuck in limbo. My desire to write has not subsided, but every time I try I can do nothing but stare at the white page on the screen. I have no good ideas, let alone the words to express them. It’s been almost a month and I’ve tried many things. Here’s what doesn’t work:
Eating chocolate while trying to write. While it does raise my serotonin levels so I feel more alive and confident, it also requires me to remove my hands from my keyboard for a few moments. Bad idea because if I stop even for a second, I start re-reading. Then the perfectionist editor that lives in my head gets out the red pen and I need so much more chocolate just to combat her negative criticism. Oh, and my hubby doesn’t like chocolate fingerprints on the computer desk.
Taking on a project with a deadline. Especially if said project happens to be neither interesting nor well-paying. What made me think that forcing myself to write something I am indifferent about would make my creative energy flow?
Being up before the sun. I thought that a dark world, a quiet house and a cup of coffee would do it. Suddenly it would all be there – a brilliant idea, the right words, and the ability to type extra-fast. Well, I figured out that I do tend to get ideas when it’s still dark but it’s usually 2 o’clock in the morning and I am not getting up. My sister suggested keeping a notebook by my bed to jot down ideas in the middle of the night. I think about it but then I convince myself that I will still remember the idea the next morning. I go back to sleep; I don’t remember.
So, I sit here in front of a white screen tapping my head much like Winnie the Pooh saying “think, think, think.”
I think I’ll try the chocolate again…