Attack the block

11 Jul

A post about writer’s block? Seriously? Look, I know it’s not exactly original, but I’m at a loss here and I haven’t done a real blog post in, like, a week. Do you understand the self-imposed stress I’m under? Blogging is supposed to be this fun thing I do on the side—and it is fun, but naturally I find a way to get anxious about it. I’ve written about this before: the short version is that when writing is both a job and a hobby, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish work and pleasure.

And while yammering on about writer’s block doesn’t make for the most interesting blog post, it is the only way I know how to get past it. Writing is what I do when I don’t feel like writing. It’s kind of like exercising, except I actually get back in the habit of writing when I say I’m going to. (Let’s have a go at the stationary bike today, self! That is a thing that could actually happen, right?!) This is mostly just me trying to force myself into regular blogging—at least until Comic-Con happens and all my time is compromised. You don’t even have to read it, if you don’t want to. I’m not writing this for YOU.

(Please never leave me.)

I actually keep a list of blog ideas. It’s on the same Stickie note as my, um, ready-to-post tweets. Judge if you must, but I pre-write shit for exactly this reason. There are times when I just can’t think of anything to say, and while most people might accept that as a consequence of being a human with limited creativity and brain capacity, I consider it a serious failing. One of my biggest fears is suddenly losing the ability to write, which is kind of absurd. It’s really unlikely that I’m going to wake up one day without a means of articulating my thoughts—or worse, without thoughts at all. (Or worse yet, without a sense of humor.) Yet despite the ridiculousness of this panic spiral, I am actually a little twitchy just talking about it!

I write through the block, not because I truly need to blog today, but because I need to remind myself that I can. It’s a really simple way to assuage those concerns that I’ve forgotten how to string words together. (Though I may have forgotten how to be entertaining, which is a separate problem I’m going to ignore for the time being.) Writing is a great hobby in that it requires very few tools: you could theoretically do it with a pencil and paper, if you wanted to be all old-timey about it. And for someone like me, who often gets moody and feels overwhelmed with simple tasks, it’s nice that I can just sit down and do it. No preparation. No assembly required. No goddamn stretching.

Of course, making a point is far more difficult. To be honest, lots of my blog posts are unprepared, and I think it shows. I’m not saying it never works, but if they feel unfocused, that’s because they are. This one in particular has no beginning or end: I’m just writing to write. And now that I’ve forced myself back into blogging, I guess I can just stop whenever.

(Now, even.)

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2 Responses to “Attack the block”

  1. Erin July 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    You’re like the protagonist in Bag of Bones, who writes two books a year so that when he gets writer’s block, he has a stash left to publish!

    Maybe not the greatest literary reference I’ve ever made.

  2. A... July 11, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    Not to be a total downer, but you really could wake up tomorrow with a sudden inability to write. I did. I was a grad student in a very selective PhD program not far from where you live. I completed all of my coursework, took my qualifying exams, and was ready to write the dissertation. My program required both a creative and a scholarly component. I sat down to write one day, and it was gone. I couldn’t write a word. Now, five years later, I’m back on the east coast working in the welfare system. I went from being on the fast track to being nobody. So don’t let writer’s block control your life, but don’t take your abilities for granted, either.

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