Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Writer's block is a little like love. When you know you're in love, you know it. Same thing with writer's block and nobody can tell you you're not.

I've been blocked for what seems like ages. Sure, I can hobble through my job. Feature writing is pretty easy. All you have to do is get out of the way and let the other guy tell his story. You can guide him a little bit, help him find his beginning, middle and end, but these are his and not yours.

I've also been remarkably entertaining most of the time with my stupid Facebook account. Yes, I delight in causing one or two nearly anonymous people to squirt hot coffee out of their nose or maybe throw up in their mouth just a little with my ongoing nonsense.

In truth, the Facebook stuff is kind of like writing radio ad copy, which is also pretty easy. You just try to make the most ridiculous bullshit sound reasonable. Low prices? Best service and selection? How about a roundhouse kick in the crotch while my partner here takes liberties with your beloved house pet?

I can do all of that, but man... I can't seem to construct a linear story. I've had a couple of good ideas lately, but there's just something missing. I can't really figure out what it is. It might be the Netflix. I've really enjoyed watching endless hours of British television --mostly Doctor Who and Torchwood. It could also be Facebook, which is superficial but still very social and some successful novelists have said writing to them is kind of a balance between going out among people to find out things about themselves and going away from people to communicate with the world.

Facebook sort of eliminates some of that, I think. It's fun. It's like having relationships, but without all the commitment. It's also addictive and time consuming, two things that make writing harder.

Still, if any of these good ideas amounted to anything, I'd be able to follow them through. And right now, I can't. The stories aren't coming, which is kind of a bummer. Part of the fun, for me, anyway, is the high of chasing the story. The plot, the characters, all comes out of my head, but still, seeing it, being the first to read it, is a charge. Writing is a privilege, even if what gets written never amounts to something anybody would ever want to publish.

You get to see something new and I love that.

But I'm not really getting anywhere at the moment. So, I guess I'll blog.

1 comment:

Buzzardbilly said...

Sweet creeping Jesus, do I remember the way I felt the first time I had writer's block. I contacted on of my old writing professors (whom I still adore though I don't contact as I should) and he suggested that I journal for a while and gave me a list of odd topics to pick from to get me started with freewriting in a journal. My favorite was "describe in vivid but non-judgmental detail the stupidest person you ever met" and it was a winner. Some others I can recall are: nightmare date, worst asshole you can imagine, something mundane that you love but most people wouldn't pay attention to. You get the gist. It worked. Writing about things I felt helped break the block. Before I knew it, I found myself working on word usage more to try to capture how something really had been. It helped to stoke the creativity and to bring home the lesson that all writers borrow from what they see in real life heavily. Hope that helps, but sometimes it's just your brain telling you it needs a little vacation to recharge the batteries.