Is writer’s block a disease? Everything else is. Or at very least “a condition.” It doesn’t help, though, if you put it in quotation marks like that. If someone says, “I have a ‘condition,'” it’s obviously code for “I have an excuse for getting time off work.”
But writer’s block certainly feels like something is wrong. I think I have it. Wonder where I caught it? Probably picked it up from touching a doorknob somewhere because, as everyone knows, writers are terrible at washing their hands. And relationships.
Symptoms include depression, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, sense of doom and pounding headaches. Maybe, though, the headaches aren’t a symptom of writer’s block but are actually causing the writer’s block. It’s a chicken-egg thing. And now, all I can think of writing about are chickens and eggs. It’s a vicious poultry-themed circle.
Over the weekend, I started and abandoned multiple pieces of writing. Each word felt as comfortable as putting on a sock when you have a jagged toenail, and that’s the kind of imagery that encapsulates the depths of awfulness I’m talking about.
I was at the point where I was wondering how many words I could get out of the lame “game” suggested on the box of Alphabits cereal. The game went like this:
1. Pick a cereal letter.
2. See how many words you can think of that start with that letter.
3. The person with the most words wins.
That’s it. That was the game. And it turns out I could write about 50 words on the subject, including description.
Writer’s block would be fine if it weren’t so associated with a sense of failure, a feeling of time wasted and lack of accomplishment. By the end of the day Sunday, then, I was feeling I needed something concrete, something practical and finalized to end the weekend of non-productivity. So I decided to take off my winter tires and install my all-seasons.
So here’s a tip: if your self-esteem is low and you already have a terrible headache, don’t engage in activity that involves you jacking a car up and down multiple times and screwing up an equal number of times.
On the plus side, the debacle did give me something to write about. Life and writing are funny that way.
You can hear the result below via Grooveshark widget (non-mobile only) or over at CBC “Breakaway” where it aired, including some radio-friendly cursing!
What’s your cure for writer’s block, and does it involve poultry?