in my humble opinion

Writer’s block 2.0

By JONATHAN CHARLES FOX
Posted 4/28/21

It’s baaaack! I’ve had it before, and I’ll have it again, but when it happens—look out! Especially if you have a deadline looming. Which I do. Right now. This very …

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in my humble opinion

Writer’s block 2.0

Posted

It’s baaaack! I’ve had it before, and I’ll have it again, but when it happens—look out! Especially if you have a deadline looming. Which I do. Right now. This very minute.

Writer’s block: What is it, where does it come from and how do you get rid of it? “When in doubt…” I muttered in the general direction of Dharma the Wonder Dog, “Ask the Google—my modern-day Oracle of Delphi. Eureka!” I cried aloud, “That’s it! I‘ll write about ancient Greece!

The dog stared at me blankly and made no attempt to wag in encouragement. “Oh, what do you know?” I sneered. “Okay then, forget it,” I whined as Dharma nonchalantly gnawed on her bone. “I didn’t want to do it anyhow. Back to the drawing board, I guess. And the Google.”

An aptly titled article dubbed “How do you get over writer’s block?” popped up on my computer screen. It was written in 2014 by a woman named Andrea Bachofen and published on the Penguin Random House website. The publishing conglomerate is a giant in the industry, so I assumed her words would be wise and quickly scanned the page.

 “I rarely have writer’s block because my bills arrive too regularly,” Bachoven cheerily wrote, undoubtedly feeling terribly clever but not helping me at all. Then I looked at her list of suggestions and scowled.

“Take a hike, write anything, get help from a friend or just deny, deny deny,” she advises, infuriating me even further. “Sleep on it,” she suggests in conclusion. “Yeah, right, lady,” I mumbled. “That’s what I did yesterday. And it’s raining,” I screamed into the computer as if Andrea could hear me, “so I’m not taking a damn hike. As for asking a friend?” I continued howling aloud. “I’d rather stick a fork in my neck!”

Angrily clicking on my keyboard delivered more angst in the form of some blogger known only as “Reedsy.”

“Oh this should be rich,” I muttered. “I already hate you, whoever you are, so hit me with your best shot.” Scrolling through Reedsy’s list, I couldn’t help but notice that her (his?) title was just as pithy as Andrea’s. Noting that it was simply called “How to overcome writer’s block,” I rolled my one good eye and squinted at the page.

 “Develop a writing routine,” Reedsy brilliantly suggests. Well, duh. “Do non-writing activities,” he (she?) continued, and elaborated with more sage advice like “don’t start at the beginning” (argh) “balance your inner critic,” and “take a shower.” Wait... what?

“Switch up your tool,” Reedsy loftily states in conclusion, making no sense whatsoever. “I think you’re a tool,” I barked, shaking my fist at the computer. “You’re no help whatsoever. Bite me.”

Still at a loss and with time running out, I started to sweat and pace around the kitchen, making another cup of coffee and grasping at straws. “Wait a minute...” I said to the dog, who turned her head and yawned. “Maybe Reedsy can save the day after all. I wonder if my old blog is still active?”

 Yep, sure enough, there it was online, as if no time at all had passed, even though I haven’t contributed to it since 2012. Called “Working Without a Net” and sprinkled with photos, the stories I had written years ago came back to me. Titles like “They Shoot Authors, Don’t They?” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” and “Tyra Banks Ate My Cell Phone” swam before my eyes, taking me back to a time when I was no better a writer than I am today, in my humble opinion.

“Well, there you have it, girl,” I said to the dog. “Once a hack, always a hack, I guess. Might as well write about not being able to write just like those other jerks and call it a day. Maybe I should take a page from Reedsy’s book and simply take a shower. After all,” I said, noting that her ears flattened at the “s” word, “I don’t think this column could smell any worse. The end.”

Fun Fact: According to the Google, writer’s block may have several causes. Some are “creative problems that originate within an author’s work itself.” Other blocks may be produced by adverse circumstances in a writer’s life or career: “physical illness, depression, the end of a relationship, financial pressures, or a sense of failure.” Hmmmm.

Curious? Visit www.workingwithoutanet.blogspot.com to read even more boring stuff I claim to have written.

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