I’m currently adrift in the grayish blobby starfields of writer’s block.
I’d like to talk a bit about how JUST WRITE JUST WRITE WHAT ARE YOU A LAZY COCKERDOODLE JUST WRITE advice knocks around my head, and whether it’s actually motivating, and what I do about it. If I’m honest, these days I’m lucky if I write a blog post. I’m luckier if I write a sentence of fiction that I don’t delete. Therefore it’s tempting, with that single sentence (be it grand or shitty), to hold it aloft in triumph and cross WRITE off my to-do list for the day.
At the same time, I can’t stand the whole black-and-white, all-or-nothing pep talks. They block me up more — if it were possible. And then I stare at the blank page in my computer screen, and think, I think I’d rather have some cheese or Haven’t had sex in a while, maybe I’ll go do that or shit, procrastinated too long, the kid woke up and is crying. When push comes to shove, writers generally say (or write. Ha. Ha. Ha.), if you’re going to write, you’ll choose writing. And they — those mythical, incredible powerhouses — are right.
So here is the useful part of this post.
Dubious Tips for Escaping the Graybobbleknit World of Writer’s Block
- Go have sex. Maybe don’t talk a lot, but definitely do it. It’s okay! Feel good again! Sex can only inform your writing. If you’re claiming the mantle of celibacy (voluntary, involuntary, whatever label you’re giving yourself), go masturbate. On second thought, if involuntary, go talk to someone. Note: while sexing, you are not actually writing. Remember this.
- Eat Cheese. Or whatever. Eat it.
- Pick up the kid and whisper a story in his ear. This might be terrible advice if your kid needs to sleep and is having trouble getting there and you’re writing horror or even light surrealism. So, addendum, do not whisper YOUR story in his ear. Tell him about Copernicus the king cobra. It is the most somnolent story in the history of past-bedtime stories.
- Watch TV and read a bunch. Yes, a bunch. You might end up parroting the structure of Midsomer Murders, but that’s your own damn fault, isn’t it?
- Go outside for a walk or five. This is obligatory advice meant to be included in any and all advice lists, along with drinking water and listening to soothing music.
Go forth and escape! Coherency and sleep are for the useful.