The good news is, I’ve figured out writer’s block.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been unable to look a blank page in the eye. Worse, not even the frequent notes to myself, made in feverish wakeful nights, have elicited more than a yawn. Lost sleep for nothing, dear friends.
In the morning, I read my scrawls, trying vainly to recall what “Res. wh. whump!” could possibly mean. Or why the revelation that people have two of everything but probisci might be of interest to the bloggerati. Having failed, I hereby donate both ideas to the writing public; I would love to read something they inspired.
I tried all the usual antidotes, including the oft-prescribed stream of consciousness ramblings. Sure enough, they proved to be ramblings. Consciousness, I’m not so sure. My streams seemed clogged; too often for comfort, in a terrifyingly relentless dwindle, I found myself repeating one or two words over and over. Drowning in a sea of – well, not even drowning, not even that, which would at least have been tragic.
One wearisome evening, I gave up early and shut my computer down.
“Installing important updates,” it said, “Please do not log off or power down your computer.”
Brilliant, I thought, can’t even give up properly. Then it hit me.
My brain had been sluggish lately, reluctant to follow my commands. Just like my computer. I needed to install important updates.
Forget writing, forget blockage. Start the shut-down process. But how to download the necessary updates?
Jump in the car, take a drive. Read billboards. Stop for coffee. Buy some paint at Lowe’s. Or just look at paint, and decide not to. Talk to a human, any human, preferably one you wouldn’t normally find interesting. Go to a public park. Go to a museum and look at art. Get out among people, the more, the better.
Do this for a while; it can take days to download these updates. Just don’t think about writing. Eventually, just as you’re heading out the door to go grocery shopping, you’ll realize you need to write something down first. It will end up taking much longer than you thought, and you’ll have to eat out, since you will have forgotten all about the groceries.
Update successfully installed.
The bad news, of course, is that none of this is any different from what you’ve been doing all along.