On Being a Writer Who Doesn’t Write…
These days even calling myself a writer fills me with anxiety. I’m somebody who writes. Yes, I am. Just not much these days. Or should I be honest and admit that I’m writing nothing. I’m hoping that this piece, that writing this, putting my anguish out there for the world (or those few who actually read what I post) will do the trick, will get me out of my rut, will spark the engines. I could go on…but, for you, dear reader, I won’t.
I’d never used the term “writer’s block.” I always thought of it as too easy an excuse, one that could be used when it was just too hard to think of something to say, when “your imaginary friends” had other things to do, other writers to grace, or when you realized that what you wrote was just a word ragbag, too full of fancy adjectives, or synonyms, or Victorian phrasing. I’ve experienced all those, but somehow was able to keep at it, knowing, deep down, that I could do better.
But for the last months, truth be told, I just had nothing to say. Well, that and a major dose of laziness. Each morning, I’d tell myself that at least I’d sit at the computer and do more than answer emails and read like-minded Facebook posts. And each day I would do only that. I still had nothing to say.
I couldn’t find a book that enthralled, and after binge-watching The Americans, no Netflix, Prime, or Acorn captured me. I was nothing but a mess.
And then the cloud parted, or at least became a bit more gossamer. I found books I liked – Tana French, Daniel Pink, Bill Bryson, H.L. Mencken, Lianne Moriarity. No pattern that I could discern. Some readings by author friends,. each in her own way nudging me back to the keyboard, if only to write that I cannot write.
And so here are 300 or so words. A start. And it really doesn’t feel that terrible. Fingers crossed that I will hear good news about the one story that I did write this summer and submitted for inclusion in a commemoration of a favorite author. And even if it is not accepted, I sense that my imaginary friends are on their way back to me. I will welcome them with maple tea and stale Krispy Kreme donuts. They tell me that combination is one of their favorites.