This past month, I’ve been struggling with severe writer’s block. I almost never succumb to it’s cold, calloused embrace, but this month has been a doozy for my writer’s mind. What’s worse? I had a paper due; a long paper.
In an attempt to conquer this…impediment…I wrote this short soapbox rant for my nonfiction class:
Today, I have a problem. A real, big-time problem. It’s a problem every writer faces, a problem every writer fears. It comes with no warning, but strikes a quick, agonizing blow to your self-esteem, your peace of mind, and your overall sanity.
I’m talking about writer’s block. The wicked, wicked illness of every writer.
It really is an illness, when you think of it. After all, like a real illness, there are ways of warding off its effects. For a true sickness, you can wash your hands regularly, you can bathe yourself in Germ-X, you can hydrate yourself with Vitamin C. And while these rituals don’t always stop a bad flu season or a common cold, they more than likely will protect you from the worst life can throw at you.
Writer’s block is the same way. You can journal, you can carry around a good book and read often. You can keep a notebook and doodle ideas in it whenever they come to mind.
Of course you can be a perfect writer….
My journal is gathering dust on my shelf after a grand total of four entries were penned in it. Next to it, two novels sit judging me, greeting me expectantly every morning and glowering at me in distain every night because I didn’t pick either of them up. The doodles in my notebook consist of frantic prayers to God to help me survive the next three days in the week, mixed in with checklists of all the TV shows I want to watch over Christmas break.
This writer didn’t wash her metaphorical hands. This writer didn’t drink her proverbial Vitamin C. This writer got sick. With writer’s block.
The worst thing about writer’s block isn’t that you can’t write, but that it’s physically painful to wrench words out of your heart and mind and stick them grotesquely on the page with sloppy writer’s glue
But being in college, I can’t just give up. I can’t just shoot hoops with the trashcan in the corner every time I crumple a draft for a paper. My grade is hanging in the balance. My very GPA pleads with me to pull my life together and get a grip on my pencil.
But it’s not working. I probably could make a full book of beginnings of pieces, but I don’t have a single ending. My words are a literary Frankenstein in bad need of surgery. Maybe I should just curl up in a fetal position and rock back and forth until the words slowly return to me.
After all, when you got the flu, there’s really not much you can do but hide under the covers, feel miserable, and hope for a better tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow will have some new words for me. Maybe something I see will be my writer’s Vitamin C. Maybe I’ll be able to chop up my writer’s block until it’s nothing but sawdust and finally tackle this paper.