I am a writer. I write. Unless I can think of nothing to write. Then I don’t know what I am. I suppose I’m still all the same things I am while I write, when I’m not writing. I’m a daughter, an aunt, a sister, a friend…a basically good decent human being, thank you very much.
Except when I can’t write, I feel like I’m nothing. That’s a terrible feeling. I may still be all those other things, but when I’m not writing, I’m not a writer.
I know how I’m supposed to present this to myself, as well as to others when they ask, Hey Alicia, how’s the writing going?
I don’t say – It sucks. I @#%^$#% hate writing. I slammed my hand against the wall three times yesterday. My head soon followed.
Instead, I slouch my shoulders. Apologetic soft grin and utter the words – Writer’s block.
Encouraging smiles all around. Arm pats. Don’t worry, it’ll come back….Write through it…You did it once, you can do it again…Is there anything we can do?
Yes, feel sorry for me. Feel sorry that I can’t do my job. I’ll remember to feel sorry for the paramedic who forgets how to perform CPR – I’m sorry he’s gone. But I was blocked……..It’s okay. We didn’t like him much anyway.
I hate the words “writer’s block” and whenever I use it, I verbally abuse myself later. I hate it because it lets me off the hook. It excuses my failure to meet that day’s deadline – one page, two pages, five hundred words – as though it were out of my hands. Does God control writer’s block? No? I didn’t think so. So the ability still must be within me and yet…
We (me) use writer’s block as an explanation because it is prettier than images of punching and slamming walls, or throwing objects. There’s something quaint and self-suffering, very ‘Hemingway-esque,’ about the term “Writer’s block.” Wikipedia defines it as “a condition…in which an author loses the ability to produce new work.”
You see…I’m not really bad at what I do. I have a “condition.” I’m excused. I suffer from a “documented” problem that has affected all the best writers – including Hemingway.
The fact is – I need to be inspired. I am a writer who needs to be inspired to write. There are writers who wake up and write. They have a schedule and they stick to it. They don’t have to take walks. Observe Nature. Hear children’s laughter. Or listen to inspiring movie scores on YouTube.
They just write. They Sit. In silence. And write.
Something pops into their heads and they may not know it as they write (or maybe they do b/c they’re just that good) but their ideas will lead to something – a new character a reader will fall in love with, or a surprising twist the reader will never see coming until the words spill from their lips across the pages.
But I need the music. I need the feeling. I need the inspiration. Joe Pesci sits across from me, scowling at me. “I’m a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? I’m here to…amuse you?”
Yes, Joe, you are. Amuse me. Inspire me. Do something. Please.