The other morning I woke up feeling unemotional and distant. I didn’t feel connected to the world, my family, or even myself. I brewed a hot cup of coffee with way too much creamer in it and sat down at my keyboard. I opened up my google docs page to peruse my many manuscript projects and clicked on the one I thought I was ready to continue.
I reread my progress thus far, as is my custom before writing, then I stopped. I decided I wasn’t into this story. Closing it, I opened another. A few paragraphs in, I realized that I wasn’t too into this one, either. Two more projects opened, then unceremoniously closed. Then I realized, something was wrong.
Immediately, I contacted my author friends and told them what had happened. Over the phone I could tell they were listening as they kept adding “yeah,” or “mm-hmm” although I thought I heard the distinct sound of keys clacking in the background. Then one of them gave me some advice, “you should try something different.”
Excited I hung up the phone and tried something different. But coffee without creamer just isn’t good, at all. And there I was, staring at that screen again. I decided it was time to take things to the next step, watching tv. I laughed, I got upset, I cried. Then back to the keyboard. The blank white screen seemed to bleed a grayness into my soul. I tried reading, but it reminded me that I wanted to work on my own stories, so I sat in front of the white screen again, desperately trying not to click on social media.
It was time to consult a professional. I went downtown to the local library and talked for an hour about my projects and where I wanted to take them. The poor mother who had only brought her child in to get a new Dr. Seuss book smiled then left quickly when the librarian was ready to see me.
After spending the next hour talking about my projects to yet another person, she told me “Sounds like you have some interesting stories. I would like to read them. When can you get me a copy?” I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I was so inspired I ran home and began typing up the stories and published them all that afternoon. But I didn’t.
I went home inspired to write, but I let distractions keep me from going forward with little more than a few more notes for each story. I had to face the facts. I had writer’s block.
Writer’s block is a terrible thing. It’s like having this incredible desire to sing “The Sound of Music” only to find out you don’t have a mouth. It’s like preparing all the ingredients for a four course meal, but not having an oven. It’s like preparing to run in the Olympics and finding out it’s a swimming competition.
There is only one cure for writer’s block. That cure is a long grueling process that can sometimes take weeks to complete. It involves sitting in front of a blank white screen, then slowly darkening the pages with letters in coherent words and paragraphs. The only cure for writer’s block is writing.
So, here I sit in the parking lot while my daughter has her braces examined, writing a nonsensical story about how I can’t write anymore. Well, I guess it’s better than singing “The Sound of Music” surrounded by other parents eagerly awaiting their children to emerge from the building with tender teeth and gums.
So, my daily medication of writing is done for the day. I guess I need to take my own advice and Scribe On!