You’re staring at a blank screen. The cursor blinks at you, tauntingly. Thoughts scurry across your mind like (insert whatever scurrying thing comes to mind here). Nothing seems good enough to press publish, interesting or worth writing about. Yet, you have a deadline, external or self-imposed. It’s time to blog and nothing comes to mind that is blog-worthy. What do you do?
Well, I usually don’t have this problem. That’s because this blog is mostly about bicycling, and as a car-free cyclist for many years, I’ve had plenty to talk about. But recently I’ve been working crazy long hours and having to drive a car to do it — gasp! — so I haven’t been able to come up as much. Also, it’s still really hot in Austin, so not biking is probably a wise and healthy decision in some ways. That’s OK for now, because I’m earning some much needed filthy lucre to keep from becoming houseless. Still, it’s nice when I don’t have to think too much and just write.
They — those anonymous, esteemed, learned, omnipotent superhumans — say write what you know. But what if what you know is what you had for dinner last night, and it was not really edible? Or that your chores need doing and how boring is that? Well, all I can say is start writing SOMETHING, and something will come out. It may be pure pabulum, but it’s a start. Depending what it is, you can edit it later. Obviously if you are lucky enough to have an editor or real world deadlines for a job, that’s another matter. This is just a blog post, please refer to the pros.
Could I could do research and come up with a story about something bike-related? Sure. But I’ve actually been cogitating on writers block for a while, so this isn’t exactly the hail Mary pass you might thing. Writing whatever comes to mind, even if it’s writing about writing (or not) sometimes really is a better use of time than sitting and spinning one’s wheels, so to speak. If you keep a journal, as I do, and sometimes even write in it, that’s a great place to just vomit your thoughts out on paper. There are no holds barred so it’s fine to write whatever you want. Unless you have a sneaky girlfriend who reads it as I did. Twice.
Of course there are writing coaches and books galore that tell you how to address writer’s block. A Dude is no expert, which someone once defined as “something that used to be” plus “a liquid under pressure.” The professional writers will give you all sorts of advice about writer’s block, and I’m sure much of it works. Sometimes maybe you have to walk away from it to let the muse speak. Or find the time to ride and get your bicycle legs back. So is writers block real or an excuse? Maybe sometimes both.
For me, writers block is more about what’s going on in my life that is blocked energy. How are we blocked in other ways than in front of the keyboard or pad of paper? There’s a straight line between not biking and not having much to blog about. Still, what else is going on? Look into that and you might find plenty to explore. It’s now Libra time, for what astrology is worth, and that’s about seeking balance. Soon I’ll have less (or no work), and time to hop back on the bike and have more to write about.
Until then, what blocks you? How have you dealt with writers block? Or do you think it’s just an excuse? Feel free to write a comment, if you can…
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