I’m standing on the other side of the door, trying to reason with my mind, which always seems to have at least half a dozen reasons why it won’t do what I want it to do.  I want my mind to grant me access (It’s my mind!  Come on, already!) so I spend considerable time arguing with it, constructing logical arguments, and building creative keys from scratch so that I can barge my way in.  Most keys only seem to work once; winning a debate usually results in ominous silence.

I imagine my mind’s part of the conversation is something along the lines of:

What’s that?  You want to actually write something?  Well, that’s too bad.  Haven’t you heard you’re closed for construction?  Why?  We had to replace the lock after the last time you broke in.  Oh, and did I mention that tomorrow I’m taking a mental health day?

Curse you, brain.  I’m not a victim of a writer’s block, not really.  The logical part of me knows that if I sit down and write something, even if it’s crap, eventually the crap will get better.  I’m a victim of myself and my perfectionism, complete with constant questioning and self-doubt.  Being a victim of myself seems silly, but there it is.  Why can’t I just kick myself in the pants?

I think about writing all the time, but lately I haven’t been doing any.  I could whinge on about being sick, or all the things I keep trying to do instead, because they are, after all, really important, doncha know?  My old self wouldn’t have bought it; heck, my old self wouldn’t even be in this mess.  Old me would have ignored the pile up of dishes and trash, if not the paying of bills.  She would have told Mr. Wonderful she needed half the evenings in the week just to write and that he’d have to find his own something to do, would have called off sick even though she wasn’t just to get a writing day, and would have a notepad or laptop with her anytime she could have been writing while doing something else—and then she would have forgotten what the other thing she was doing was.  Now I go outside for a cigarette and rehash the same plot points in my head, search hopelessly for a meaningful blog post.  I don’t write a word, and if I do manage to sit down and start something, I wind up scrapping it for one of the following reasons: incoherent, stupid, potentially offensive, boring, and where is this going anyway?

At some point, I confess, I became disgusted with old me.  It’s not that she was a bad person, but she was a little arrogant, at least when it came to writing.  Old me would never have plotted or outlined or researched something she wrote or even recognized that those things could have utility or apply to her.  When old me wrote, she would look back and be reasonably satisfied with what she wrote, maybe even elated.  A few days later old me would decide she could do better, oh yes, but she hadn’t found something loathsome in every word she wrote, sometimes even before it spilled on to the page.  Old me thought she could figure everything out on her own, and blast advice and planning.  She had a story to tell, and she was going to tell it.

I loved that story too much to continue destroying my storytelling through hubris, but I curtailed my pride so sharply that I let my perfectionism take control to the point of inaction.  I’m so afraid of failing my story and characters that I can’t even toss out a sentence, but if I don’t write, won’t I be failing them in the worst way of all?

At least this blog post is something…about not doing something.  Heh.


8 thoughts on “Deadlocked

  1. Pingback: Stalled Pen « RillaWriter

  2. I just left a comment over at RillaWriter about this strange shared phenomenon (though we all have our different but sometimes intersecting reasons for the blog-block). Maybe the blogosphere has become so congested or overpopulated in recent times that some kind of bizarre mutant cybernetic-biological anti-blogging virus has evolved as nature’s/technology’s way of dealing with the problem. If this is the case, we need to hang in there and let our immune systems and the internet do what they were designed to do (evolve to handle the threat), and trust in “survival of the fittest” until science has time to develop injectable nanobots to combat this new disease.

    Wow. My mind just took me on a funky little trip there. Waaay off the tracks. Maybe I need a medication adjustment.

    • I like the idea that it’s not all my fault, but if only the strong survive, I’d better evolve fast! I have an entire list of possible blog posts (Who wants to read about cryptomnesia? It’ll be way more fun than having to read another whiny blog post), but when I sit down to write them, I just can’t do them justice. Or I think, well…I used to know about this thing, but now I need to go back and look at my notes, and that would involve cleaning my house, and crumbs, but I’ve been trying to do that for years. Tonight I’m writing pure unadulterated crap for my novel. Lousy dialogue, hackneyed, mis-directed prose, the works. Maybe I’ll get a gem out of it. At least I’ll know what I don’t want to do. I think I promised everyone short stories at some point, because I’m terrible at them and therefore afraid of them, and I thought promising to post some would make me write a few. Sigh…

      P.S. I don’t think you need a medication adjustment (not because of your comment, anyway). Don’t kill the creativity or the sense of fun!

      • Cryptomnesia sounds like a fun subject. I just had to look it up because I thought maybe it meant some kind of amnesia where you forget you’re already dead and buried in a crypt somewhere and can’t figure out why it’s so dark.

  3. Yes, Cryptomnesia is the post I really want to write, but it’s been a long time since Cognitive Psych class, and I might have to pull out a Schacter book and re-read a few things to give the topic its due. I like your definition; it has potential as a story. In positive news, I wrote a whole (gasp) paragraph last night. It’s the little things, right?

  4. Yep. Feel the pain. When I read this, I couldn’t help but wonder if your ‘editor’ is turning on prematurely. Old you sounds like it never listened to the ‘editor’ and the new you sounds like it may listen too much. I could be wrong of course, but its just my initial thoughts. You hang in there. You’re gonna make it. Do what you love!

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