Beating writer’s block
It finally hit me! I have writer’s block today.
I always had heard about it, but I’ve never experienced it. It is that condition that clears the head of all productive thoughts and leaves a writer staring numbly at a blank page without a notion of what to write upon it. Usually, I am crammed full of ideas and words but not today it seems.
I had planned to write a couple of columns today in order to have some for the newspaper while I am out of town on a trip. I set aside the morning to really hit the writing hard and sat down with confidence to begin the task. What I got instead was writer’s block.
I thought that maybe if I got up and cleaned the kitchen, I would think of something meaningful to say. Still, nothing seemed to enter my dull brain and so I tackled that dreaded place: the inside of the refrigerator. It needed it, and I figured I could accomplish something while awaiting inspiration.
However, I noticed no difference in my creative juices when I returned to the computer, so I decided I really just needed to concentrate on clearing my mind. I donned a jacket and went for a relaxing stroll around the block. It was a beautiful day, with some early summer flowers giving their all to cheer me up. I found the walk to be relaxing but not very thought-provoking, in a newspaper sort of way.
Maybe insight into a new issue would come after I tackled the e-mails that had stacked up during my walk. Instead, all I got were more requests for my brains on everyday logistical issues like paying bills, attending meetings and respecting deadlines.
‘ 3 p.m. By then, I was physically tired and mentally drained. What is the use of wasting time when you are too sleepy to think? I was sure after a short nap I would be refreshed and ready to go on to a new column. However, no visions appeared to me while I slept. One does need a drop of caffeine and a taste of something sweet when awakening from a good sleep, and I thought that surely would get me going.
‘ 4:30 p.m. This wasn’t funny anymore. I was running out of time and needed two columns to submit before I departed on my trip. A good friend had left a voice mail for me to call her. Maybe if I contacted her I would be urged to write a Pulitzer Prize-winning article.
‘ 5 p.m. I felt I was becoming just like a friend of mine who accepted a job that demanded cold calls to potential insurance customers. He said he had the best-looking petunias he had ever grown because, as he put off phoning people, he wandered in his garden, pinching off the dead blossoms. I tried this as a solution to my writer’s block. No luck there.
‘ 5:30 p.m. Vacuumed front porch.
‘ 6 p.m. Emptied dishwasher.
‘ 6 p.m. Cooked dinner.
‘ 6:20 p.m. Ate dinner.
‘ 7 p.m. Sat at the white computer screen and almost wrote my resignation to the newspaper.
‘ 7:30 p.m. Since I needed to write checks for some bills, it was easy to rationalize doing so now.
‘ 8 p.m. Did a load of laundry.
‘ 9 p.m. Shuffled some paper on my desk next to the computer with the white screen.
‘ 9:30 p.m. Emptied dryer.
‘ 10 p.m. Realized I had accomplished two big things today: I had a clean house and, indeed, this column for the newspaper. It is amazing where one finds inspiration these days.