Thursday, March 11, 2010

Writer’s Block Is Toast

Writer's block is an alien concept to me. For the life of me I cannot understand how a person who is supposed to be a writer cannot write. You never hear of some pilot telling people, "Couldn't fly today because I had cockpit block!" Really, what is it about writers where they have their own cultural out for not working? Maybe that's what's wrong with the government of this country; they've got "Congressional Block."


 

A few years ago I set out to write a thousand words a day, every day, and from that moment on I haven't had problem writing. I have to admit the first month or so was pretty wretched but one thing setting a goal like that does is it makes you write whenever you can and not just when it is convenient for you. I write while the coffee is brewing. I write while the clothes are drying. I write during commercials. I write waiting for the toast to pop up.


 

You are not going to write the Great American novel snapping off a sentence or two while bread is being transformed into toast. But think about what you do with the odds and ends of your time; you check Facebook, your read the latest forwarded email from someone you don't know anymore, you watch television, you text someone because you're bored, and very rarely does anyone sit down and edit their last couple of sentences just because they can.

Don't misunderstand me, please. I don't write every single spare moment of the day, but I do try to do what I can with what I have. Good writing takes time, and by no means can the two sentence toast tango replacing sitting down for a few hours and getting the work done. Yet writing begs to be tinkered with. It wants to be checked in on in between sessions. Writing a thousand words means there is a sentence in here somewhere that needs to be reworked or maybe even deleted, or moved around a bit to fit the mood better. Something isn't right, or isn't right enough, and before dawn of new toast I might be able to find it.

I'm in the third revision of a novel I've been writing for a while now. I pull the file up and peck away at it like it's one of those million piece jigsaw puzzles in a mental institution. It does occur to me I may have the antitheses of Writer's Block. I have Writer's Bleed; I cannot stop writing. But whatever you do in your spare moments defines who you are. If you spend your time in front of a television then you will become adept at discerning as to who is going to be kicked off dancing island. If you spend your time checking your status on Facebook then you'll become adept at… Anyway, if you spend a few spare moments writing you'll discover you'll become better at it. You may find a misspelled or a misused word before the bread rises from its hellish tomb to be reborn as the toast of the breakfast table.


 

Take Care,

Mike

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