Writer’s Block

Have a theory about that state of mind in which a writer is at a total loss for words, when her characters seem to have all conspired to take a simultaneous vow of silence, when the pen opts out of forming useful words for drawing useless doodles around the edges of the page — that horrible condition called WRITER’S BLOCK.

Before my first real experience with writer’s block, I had assumed that the term referred to a sort of mental barrier that makes it harder for writers to say what they’re trying to say on the page.  However, having grappled with the demon of all demons that is writer’s block several times now, I am convinced that my former assumption was wrong.

In fact, it is called “writer’s block” because it makes you wish for a big block against which to hit your head until the words tumble out of your ear, or until you’ve lost consciousness — whichever comes fist.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m in the midst of a bout with writer’s block.  Since the big block I ordered off Amazon has yet to be delivered (struggling writer status required “Free Super-Saver Shipping” option), I am forced to try other methods to exorcise this word-eating demon.

1st Method — Writing Exercise.  Picked a random writing exercise question from writing exercise book: “As your book’s hero, write about a secret habit and why you keep it a secret.”  Briefly considered picking another question when all that came to mind were disgusting habits involving personal hygiene.  Instead, referred to trusty writer’s manual, which said: “When you get stuck, use your imagination to work through it.”

Heeded advice and used imagination to come up with the solution of texting a friend: “Do you have any secret habits and, if so, why is it a secret?”

Friend texted back: “That’s between me and my doctor.”  Hmph.

Texted another friend same question.  Got a better response: “Yes and because I don’t want anyone to know.”  Progress.

Texted third friend.  Response: “Writer’s block again?”  De-friended third friend on FB.

2nd Method — Physical Exercise.  Trusty writer’s manual says, “Physical exertion is a sure way to get the creative wheels spinning again.”  Even gave a very scientific formula to support this claim:  “Increased blood-to-brain circulation + Nature = Cure to writer’s block.”

Heeded advice and took dogs for a light jog.  Upon stepping outside, immediately wondered if nature is as effective a cure to writer’s block if it’s only 18 degrees.  Decided to set doubts aside and proceeded to jog down sidewalk with dogs.  Soon became aware that sidewalk had become a black-ice death-trap over night.  Not wanting to risk injury, decided to go back inside.  However, my dogs, who were suffering from a case of cabin fever almost as serious as my writer’s block, shot down the sidewalk, dragging me with them.

Slipped and slid ungracefully down sidewalk while yelling at dogs to stop.  (Note to self:  must send dogs to obedience class.)  Finally gained traction underfoot by hopping off sidewalk and onto snow-covered grassy area next to sidewalk.

Managed to stop dogs, but not before stepping into one of the thousand land mines laid by one of the many dogs in my neighborhood.  Mentally cursed all dog owners who think it’s ok to stop picking up after their dog in the winter, as long as they kick some snow over the doggie-doo.  The old snowy kick-over trick.  Worst part of spring is when snow melts away and reveals a winter’s worth of doggie-doo transgressions.  (Personally vow never to commit an act of snowy kick-over again after this.  Figured I’ll have paid my penance for past transgressions when I face the demoralizing task of scraping clean the bottom of my shoe.)

Back inside.  Penance paid.  Dogs glaring at me for inadequate outdoor playtime.  Writer’s block still intact.  (sigh)

5 comments on “Writer’s Block

  1. Tyler says:

    Had same problem. Started bouldering. Problem solved.

  2. AJ Rokin says:

    Tyler – I had to look up what bouldering was! Main problem I have with the activities that actually work to remove my writer’s block is that when successful, the ideas come pouring in quickly, and I’m usually without pen and paper. Very frustrating when good ideas slip away before I can record them. Maybe I should take up bouldering – at least then I could carve the ideas that come to me onto the rock :)

  3. Jean says:

    This entry is funny lol! I pictured you like a cartoon getting dragged by the dogs:0 glad you are still in one piece:)

  4. Jean says:

    Tip: the next time you have massive ideas, you have a recorder on iPhone you can talk into so you can record your thoughts:)

    • AJ Rokin says:

      That’s a great idea! I wish Duncan and Woody could understand English. Then maybe I could just tell them my ideas while we’re all out jogging, and they could remind me what they are if I forget by the time we get back.

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