I’ve always been an advocate for the idea that the best cure for writer’s block is to write about having writer’s block. Usually this leads to a long sequence of uninspired drivel (such as my personal essay on panty hose), but a lot of people think it’s good enough to publish anyway. It usually isn’t, but I’m going to go ahead with the idea anyway.
I’d like to make some observations on writer’s block. First of all, I find that I’m an excuse maker. If I’m not too busy, I have writer’s block. But I always have too much to do (or must start by playing a game of Spider Solitaire) if I have really good ideas and feel “in the groove.” Incidentally, any writer will tell you about “the groove;” this is a mode of thought, emotion, and inspiration that makes it “feel” like it’s time to write. It comes at unpredictable time, and frankly, is a much more progressive manner of speaking about “the muse” (of whom Rodin , incidentally, had the most appealing vision).
At any rate, I don’t think I’m simply an excuse maker. I think that I have an innate psychological function that perversely operates only when I have too much else to do. “He’s busy, let’s give him lots of ideas and put him in the groove.” Perhaps personifying my psyche is a bit weird, because after all, that sort of identifies my mental attributes as a distinct being from myself, and despite appearances to the contrary, I am not that schizophrenic. It does, on the other hand, allow me a digression to keep me writing.
But to bring me back on track, I believe there’s something about being occupied that gets my mind moving. If I have to speak to a number of people, or get some tasks done, I feel movement, rather than stagnation, and I believe I can get things done. It also provides an environment where I have more stimuli and can make the connections I need to make.
On the other hand, if I’m just sitting around playing Unreal Tournament (and no, I haven’t acquired the coveted 2003 version yet), I don’t feel like I’m moving forward in any respect (except number of frags); rather, I feel stagnant. Inertia takes over and I fail to work on anything.
I came to this observation today at work, when it was somewhat slow, and I was only taking three or four calls an hour. I have been writing steadily for the last few days, netting close to three thousand words a day while only working during my shift. Then, today, when it was so slow, I suddenly felt completely unmotivated to do anything. There’s a connection, opportunity and inspiration typically don’t coexist.
The same thing happened earlier today when I was at home. My wife took the kids to run errands and left me alone for a couple hours when I was free to do anything. Instead I sat at the computer and made fun of the %#Two Towers Protest.
This leads me to believe I may be able to manipulate my writing “groove.” If I can falsely manufacture an environment where my psyche believes I’m busy (which may present a challenge, assuming that, as I believe, I am NOT schizophrenic and my psyche is a participant in my activities) then I should be able to get some writing done.
Hence the discussion of the phenomenon and circumstances surrounding writer’s block. Assuming all has gone well, and the 2×4 I forcefully and repeatedly applied to my psyche’s head did its job, I should be able to fool it and get some work done.
… or not.