14 March 2011


At this point, I’m not sure whether I am qualified to make assumptions that everyone in the world thinks like me.

But rather than dwell on the potential isolation I face when I realize that no one will love me because I am a crazy person, I will try to explain myself. If I can write logically about an illogical subject, maybe I can convince others that the way in which I think is completely normal. Except, now that I’ve revealed my crafty little plan, it is no longer crafty. Disregard what you have just read.

I have writer’s block.

Having writer’s block is completely normal. Show me a writer who has never experienced writer’s block and I will show you…well, I’ll show you all the literature that person has been able to produce.

I try to keep my idiosyncrasies under wraps, especially when I am around people I don’t know very well, or when I’m around a lot of people in general. But, when I’m alone and my creativity is stunted, then I can offer you no such guarantees.

One of my writing professors told me that a foolproof way to bust through a stage of writer’s block is to type random letters. The act of typing stimulates the writing portion of the brain and, eventually, ideas will flow forth. I’m not saying that this method is a complete fallacy, but it has never worked for me. In fact, it hasn’t worked for anyone I’ve spoken to besides that professor. To each her own I suppose. I am in no position to judge.

The first step I take to alleviate writer’s block is to put on my glasses if they are not already on my face. Glasses make you smarter. It’s science.

Next, I change my soundtrack. I always write to music, and when I hit a wall, I like to blame it on outside forces first. The reason I can’t find any words is because these lyrics are shite. At this point, I will usually switch to classical or Sigur Rós. Sexy European wooing noises. God bless Iceland.

Then, I decide to change locales. I’m a fidgety person in general, so I tend to become restless fairly easily. If I come to a halt at my desk, I transplant my workstation to my bed. Or the couch. Or the floor. Or one of my friends’ rooms. If the blockage is serious, I’ll go to the living room in my dorm. If it is catastrophic, I’ll head to the library.

If none of these external remedies help, I know that the writer’s block is serious and I need to make some additional changes. So I drink caffeine. My go-to source is sugar-free Red Bull. It tastes like ass and gives me the shakes, but it gives me the sense of urgency that I need to propel myself forward. If I don’t have any of that miracle (ha) elixir, then I’ll buy a coke from the vending machine downstairs and call it a day. Note, the mere act of walking downstairs often ameliorates the situation because of a change in scenery.

If the caffeine doesn’t work, then I try to be productive in other aspects of my life. I’ll do my laundry, my dishes (sometimes even my roommate’s dishes), and tidy up in general. That way, at least I can say that I managed to complete something. However, doing these tasks is not a guaranteed method in conquering writer’s block.

When I get to this point in frustration, I think about Sarah Jessica Parker.

Just kidding. I think about Carrie Bradshaw. Maybe I watched too many reruns of Sex and the City during my formative years. I wonder if I can attribute my affinity for puns and couture to that show. Whatever the case, when I am deep into writer's block, I recall images of Carrie, typing with the light of her laptop screen illuminating her contemplative face. Sometimes her brow is furrowed. Sometimes her mouth is twisted in an I-know-I-am-being-clever half-smirk. She can write, I tell myself, so I can too. I wind my hair into a messy topknot. Of course I am pantsless. But I pile on layers of rings and necklaces over whatever comic book or band shirt I happen to be wearing at the time. I sit, cross-legged, on my bed. Or, if I was already on my bed, I’ll sit at my desk with my knees pulled up to my chest. I type the phrase “I couldn’t help but wonder…” and imagine my voice reading what I have written thus far over a montage of me typing, pacing my apartment filled with clothes that seem unreasonably expensive for a newspaper columnist.

And then I write.


Post a Comment