Sunday, September 8, 2013

The road to hell is paved with adverbs

Ugh, I have writer’s block, and I’m not kidding you… it’s like all of the voices in my head have gone on strike. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m sitting in traffic or reading the news, they sound like they’re at a Cubs game. Only they don’t swear like sailors. They enunciate… like fucking ladies. But then, when I sit at the keyboard, nothing. Maybe Groucho Marx was right. Maybe, “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” I just don’t know.

That said, I DO know that it took me five hours to write the paragraph you just read – not the whole post, JUST the intro. In other words, I spent approximately one hour on each line. No wonder prisoners call jail time a sentence. But I digress. 

The point is that I’ve had writer’s block before. Only when it happened, I could get on my mental merry-go-round and eventually find something to say. This time it’s different. This time I find myself counting the number of times the cursor flashes (I made it to 927 once - yes, really) or thinking about songs with the same beat (for the record, the only two that work are your ABCs and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star). 

When neither of those techniques worked, I ended up Googling tips for dealing with writer's block. One blog said, “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone’s just doing the best they can.” To which I said to myself, “Self, that cannot be true. You cannot be the only person on this planet doing the bare minimum to get by most days.” And that’s when I began wondering - what did real writers do when this happened to them? Can you imagine Hemingway, sitting there with a bottle of absinthe, thinking, “I’m blocked. This typewriter deserves to die, alone, in the rain.” Or better yet, Dorothy Parker, whom I love beyond words (no pun intended), and who actually once said, “I’m not a writer with a drinking problem. I’m a drinker with a writing problem.” 

I don’t know, maybe that’s it. Maybe I need a scandalous vice. The current ones - doughnuts, reading, and running are closer to Hunger Games, the home edition, than inspiration. In fact, I would argue that jogging in the heat has crushed my will to live. Seriously, by the end of mile zero, I’m ready to hang up my shoes and call it a day. But do I? Yes, sometimes I do, but not always, and you would think there would be SOME return on investment for that. But is there? No. Unless a runner’s high feels like a stroke, I have NO idea what they’re talking about. Instead, I disdainfully slog through it, come home, stink, and stare at a blinking cursor.  

And I promise you on all that is holy, on more than one occasion, I have put the curse into cursor, especially last week, when I posted, This Amp goes to Eleven, and Blogger decided to crash on me. For those of you who read it, thank you. You know who you are. For those of you who visited mkromd only to find nothing, sorry. I’m still trying to figure out what happened. Either way, talk to you later… hopefully :)


  1. Been there. Am there. Professional writers can't afford writers block. They have deadlines, and their livelihood depends on it. They muscle through -- putting down crap if they need to, until they get the words flowing again. They can revisit the hard part again later.

    I don't, by the way, follow my own advice.

    1. I've been told that beating the writers who work for you helps. Is that true? LOL. Sorry, I had to :)

  2. First, this is a really well-written post on a really relevant topic. Just to give my feedback. :)

    Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Wolfe, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling. You're in excellent company! I think most writers have to deal with this. I struggle with it too - ALL THE TIME. In fact, I'm dealing with it now, to various degrees.

    For me, it's a form of perfectionism. I get really nervous I can't live up to my standards in my head, and I get totally blocked. I don't know if you're looking for suggestions, but I'll tell you what helps me, sometimes - I know that I'm a much better editor than writer. So, I'll write any old thing down, scribble the whole thing, warts and all, and then go back and fix it. Somehow it's easier for me to edit than to write. Also, whenever I find myself getting all tied up in myself, I stop writing on that particular paragraph and move on to the next.

    On my blog, I've also written enough mediocre posts, and had my readers forgive me, that I can relax alittle. People aren't as hard on us as we are on ourselves, usually.

    Anyway, don't know if any of this is helpful, but I will tell you that I've been reading your blog for awhile, and I know that you are talented. So, no matter what you write, you WON'T FOOL ME. I don't care. I know there is talent, and I'll wait for it, until it feels safe to come out and play.

    That said, I was sort of wondering if you wanted to guest post for me one of these Sundays. I don't have your e-mail, so let me know here or on my blog - or e-mail me.

    Writer's block is no excuse for not guest posting. You can write a hundred lines about how you don't know what to say, and that will make a great guest post. :)

    Hand in there, mkromd. I have faith in you!

  3. Hey there - as always, I'm SO SO SO sorry for the SUPER belated reply to your REALLY REALLY REALLY lovely comment. I truly appreciate you. You know that?

    About your blog, one - I have yet to read ANYTHING on there that's even CLOSE to mediocre. And two, I would be HONORED to post something on Mira's Corner. That said, you may want to think about it. You're classy and warm and funny and sweet. And I'm so... not - LOL.

    Also, it's official, I will email you this week so we can meet. It's crazy, how do you introduce yourself to someone you already think of as a friend.

    1. Hey mkromd, my turn to be late! Sorry, crazy week. Did you e-mail me? I did get one request for a guest post, but it didn't sound like you....was it?

      And I would LOVE for you to guest post. You are totally all of those things, don't be silly, you silly! :D

      As for how, just say: IT'S ME!!!! :D

    2. I hope it wasn't crazy in a bad way... Just a busy way. And yes, I did email you. You'll need to let me know if you're serious and it's quid pro quo. I can post on Mira's Corner (if you are realllly sure, lol), but you have to post on mkromd.

  4. You realize that if you keep up this sort of posting, I'm going to demand a full refund of my...oh, wait...

  5. It sounds like your short story about pudding Fridays at the retirement... what's it called? The thing? The place? You know what I'm talking about :)