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Writer’s block…

snoopyWriter’s block is a strange thing.

It can creep up on you, or dive-bomb you like a bird from the Hitchcock movie.

In 1848 Niagara Falls stopped flowing because of ice. Residents accustomed to hearing the sound (the way Hershey residents are accustomed to smelling chocolate) were awoken by the sudden silence. The flow was there….and then it wasn’t.

Words are there….and then, they’re not.

It’s terrifying because even though intellectually you understand that such droughts are inevitable…..you never really know if the words will ever come back.

Even the scariest Hitchcock film can’t compare to a writer staring at a blank sheet of paper (or a white computer screen). Sweat forms…..we’re unable to stay seated…bouncing up and down…..looking for any type of diversion. Even a bug on the floor will do. Maybe I should check the mail? Did I check for it already? It’s only 8am. Well…maybe they’re gonna be early today. I should check the weather. The grass looks high….might be one of the last chances for me to cut it this year. Milk? Bread? Maybe a quick trip to the store will give me an IDEA. Yea….that might work.

No, it won’t. But I’ve tried it anyway, because it gets that blank white thing out of my face. The one thing that computers can’t give you is that great feeling of writing half a sentence by hand and then crinkling up the paper and throwing it away, like it’s covered in disease. It’s very therapeutic to sit in a room with a wastebasket overflowing with nearly empty sheets of paper. The blank computer screen is more insidious….because there’s no remnant of effort AT ALL. You just open and close the word document over and over…clicking “do not save” each time. It’s a brutally efficient beat-down, and one of the reasons I suspect so many old-timers have a hard time giving up the quill.

If you do have an idea…..it’ll come at the WORST time…..when you’re in the middle of nowhere without a pen, 10 minutes after your phone just died. You promise yourself that you’re gonna remember it, but of course that’s a lie. It’s gone with the wind. And it was probably the GREATEST IDEA EVER. But….well….tough shit Bubba.

And when you’re blocked, the more you read your peers the more pissed off you get. Because NOBODY ELSE SEEMS TO BE BLOCKED. They’re writing just fine and dandy…..with all sorts of ideas that probably are shit compared to the one that you FORGOT….but still. They seem all happy and content and smug in their little creative corner…..giving you smirky side-eye for being such a word-drained loser.

Ok, maybe that last bit isn’t true…..but I DON’T KNOW FOR SURE….

I’m sure you’ve already gathered this, but any writer writing about writer’s block HAS writer’s block so…..there.

I felt like writing something and could think of absolutely nothing to say, so I decided to write 500 words about having nothing to say…..which is what writers do because admitting defeat is fake news.

Here endeth the lesson…

In a bit..

–tf

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