I can’t see up onto the top shelf, but I know they’re up there. So I try stretching. Reaching. When I rise up onto my tiptoes and press my forearm against the shelf until the wood digs into my flesh and my wrist aches with the awkward angle, I can brush against them with my fingertips. But each one I nudge dances away capriciously. I can’t see them. I can’t reach them… I can’t write them.
The words are up there in my brain. I know they are.
Sooner or later I’ve got to pull them down and get them on paper.
Writer’s block is nothing new. It’s been happening for thousands of years. (“Um… Let’s see… Mammoth-spear-spear-hunter-spear-hunter… No, no, that’s all wrong!”) It’s happened to me before, so I know it’ll pass. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
There are a zillion helpful hacks out there with cures to offer. And thank God for the Internet, because now I wouldn’t even have to exert myself to reach one of these chuckleheads – if I was into that kind of quackery. Thing is, I have no idea whether any neatly packaged writer’s block cures work. Because one of the side effects of writer’s block (at least in me) is a soul-sucking, pen-dragging, eye-drooping case of apathy. And it makes all that crap look so unspeakably lame I can’t stand it. Just stupid.
So, for me, escaping writer’s block is usually a case of faking it at work until the time comes when I’m able to rock some of those words back and forth along the top of the shelf and something finally topples down. When I’m at the point where I can’t even remember the last time I wrote anything I liked, it usually just takes writing one thing I like to bust things loose.
NOTE OF IRONY: I’ve had this post about writer’s block pretty much written for over a week. I’ve just been too busy/lazy/distracted to type it up. Sorry about that. (It’s time to start writing my way out of this funk. And I’ll probably use this space for some of that. Thanks for your patience!)