Not the tire; I’ve got a headache

laredo-hd-tIs 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?

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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75 Responses to Not the tire; I’ve got a headache

  1. benzeknees says:

    No, my cure for writer’s block does not include poultry or poetry. My cure is to take a nap. Nothing fancy, just have a little sleep. I almost always dream when I sleep & although they aren’t always pleasant dreams (see, they usually provide me with something I can write about until I come up with something better.

  2. Reading a great book can help – or it can make you feel worse because you’re convinced you’ll never write another word, let alone a great book. Exercising, walking the dog, house cleaning or gardening are good options because even if they don’t work, you’ve accomplished something. (Like your tire change but with less room to mess up.)

  3. It’s a more level playing field if you use Cheerios for the cereal game.
    I avoid writer’s block by not being a writer. Works like a charm!

  4. El Guapo says:

    No “condition” can survive the magical joy of a full frontal assault of delicious orange hued Cheetos.
    The crispy one’s.

  5. Ned's Blog says:

    This post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, Ross. I almost forgot to change my tires before driving to Seattle.

  6. Thricely pressed? Wow – I’m barely oncely pressed and it doesn’t even involve poultry. I hate changing tires – that’s what Discount Tire is for πŸ™‚

  7. ksbeth says:

    strong round of antibiotics and stay off the toilet seats. you’ll be fine in no time )

  8. Rosemary, some MALE hijacked your CBC thingy and used a bad-word-phrase….how can you stand it?

  9. I think I’m going to use “changing a tire” as a euphemism for doing anything else that doesn’t involve writing. When I’m stuck writing, mindless physical labor serves as a great kick start to get me in the groove again. I get a lot of gardening and painting done.

  10. pinklightsabre says:

    I hate to be a dick (most of the time), but the only cure for writer’s block is writing, of course. My wife has been kicking around a story idea and said recently, “I just need to write it down.” Which of course is the easiest, hardest, and only way to get it out of your head. God. And I have been blocked too, but I’m not worried about it (yet). Just feeling an awful sucking that’s more parasitic than sexual. You need to hear the band The War on Drugs if you haven’t yet and I’m going to include a link here on that because you might like them.

  11. javaj240 says:

    I’ve been writing about nothing but music lately. I was hoping to power through the writing doldrums that seem to have taken old of me. I’m still writing about music, so that ought to tell you something, lol!

  12. Elyse says:

    I’m pretty sure that writer’s block is a syndrome — what they call it when nobody believes it exists.

    Me, I have reader’s syndrome — over 300 posts in my inbox!

  13. Paul says:

    “Piffle”? “Can’ get it up?” Oh, Ross, how could you? A perfectly manly job like changing tires and you “can’t get it up”? **Lowers head in shame** Ha! When I had my own tractor-trailer, I sometimes (when I had no choice) changed my own tires. Only sometimes. Seasonal or scheduled replacement tire changes I let the pros handle. Don’t want no part of that. One day I was followng a colleage down the Maine Turnpike when there was a large “BANG” and one of his rear trailer tires self-destructed. Pieces of rubber rained on my windshield. I hollered at Keith on the CB and we pulled off in a rest stop. Now Keith was an ex Hell’s Angel and he had been keeping his nose clean when I knew him – although, as the Country and Western singer so aptly said: He had friends in low places.. He was a big man of about 400 lbs and was the most laid back man I had ever met – he did everything in slow motion and even spoke with a drawl as if forming the very words should be done slowly. He had a heart of gold but making him angry was not a good idea. So, we stood looking at the offending tire and Keith let out a big sigh and said “Well I suppose we should change it.” There are two basic manual wrenches used to change truck tires: a gear wrench that lossens the nuts and a spinner that looks like a steel X with a different socket size on each end, used to spin the nuts off once they were loosened. We jacked up the axle, Keith grabbed the gear wrench and started lossening up the nuts. When he was half way around the wheel (there are 10 nuts) I started spinning them off. The wheel is quite big, so there was lots of room for us to both work at the same time. Except… one of Keith’s nuts was seized and he made the mistake of leaning his head into the wheel just as I spun another nut off. There was a loud “CRACK” and my wrench hit Keith right between the eyes. His aviator sunglasses flew off his face in two pieces, Keith let out a grunt and he fell over on his back competely unconscious. Oh my God! I thought I’d killed him. I was hollering his name and patting his face when he came to a few minutes later. The mark of the wrench was dented into his forehead between his eyes. I had just knocked out a Hell’s Angel and I have to confess, I was scared. Within a minute he was sitting up and wanted his sunglasse. I found the pieces and gave them to him. He looked at them in his hand and moaned,”You broke my damn sunglasses!” “Keith”, I said, “I’ll buy you a new pair of sunglasses, I’m just so glad you’re OK.” “Oh yeah”, he sighed, “that was pretty stupid of me to put my head in the wheel. You don’t owe me any sunglasses.” I felt the stress drain out of me. Just another day changing tires and knocking a Hell’s Angel unconscious..

  14. Crap! Did I pass it along to you in our brief cyber discussions? I truly thought I’d been on antibiotics long enough before re-engaging with the blogging public. Sorry ’bout that.
    Seriously though. You obviously kicked the disease just by writing about it AND producing something worth publishing. Witty, engaging and relevant.
    I often write about writer’s block, but those posts usually end up buried in hospital bathroom HazMat red bins where they belong.
    Bravo, Ross!

  15. TheLastWord says:

    Hey! I wrote about it a while ago. I’ve got about 11 draft posts at any given time. When they don’t feel or look right to me, they’re not ready to go out into the world. So what does one do? Certainly not change tires – what an idea!

    Here is my take on writer’s block

  16. franhunne4u says:

    Some writers should be infected with writer’s block for the public good … Not you!
    Some authors whose books I wasted my precious life time with …

  17. The writers-block post. It had to happen sooner or later. It’s inevitable.

    Asking what I do for writers block presumes I am a writer, which I am most certainly not. To paraphrase Truman Capote, I don’t write. I type. When I don’t have anything to type about, I just walk away and sooner or later something comes to my attention. What about poor Fran Lebowitz? Didn’t she have writers block for, like, 15 years or something like that?

    I read an interesting article recently about how pharmaceutical companies are coming up with new ailments that they just so happen to have a pill for. Then, the push to get doctors to prescribe said pill. I HOPE that’s not true.

  18. Trent Lewin says:

    My personal and mostly-worthless theory is that writer’s block is caused by tiredness, lack of sleep. I think certain parts of your brain connected with creativity are most affected by being tired. I think many cases of writers block are in fact just people not being rested enough to write. Of course, that’s not true for some, who can write all night long or for a couple of days straight. But that’s my theory. Have a glass of wine, and have a good night of sleep, possibly the outlook will be better in the morning. I’m a doctor, you know, so I must be right.

  19. pjoy93 says:

    We all get it. I blame mine on ADD and sliced peppers that look like Chinese laundry men. It gives me writing fodder though so it’s all good:

  20. Reading your blog posts makes my life better.

  21. Chelsea Grey says:

    It feels so good to be stalki- I mean following you again. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go hide behind that tree over there.

  22. Kay says:

    Wine. It helps me either write or not care , so I win either way.

  23. cat9984 says:

    Cheer up. The car could have landed on you and broken something important. Of course, once you got out of the body cast, you would have material for a long time.

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