On Writer’s Block

The article referenced in yesterday’s post was actually published as a blank page in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis Volume 7, Issue 3, page 497, Fall 1974. It was accompanied by the following comment justifying its inclusion in the journal: “Clearly it is the most concise manuscript I have ever seen–yet it contains sufficient detail for other investigators to replicate Dr. Upper’s failure.”

Writing is often difficult for me and particularly so this fall, and I have a million excuses for why I am finding that words are hiding from me. So, as Charles Bukowski said,“writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.”

This brings me to yesterday and today and my battle with the blank screen. I have experienced many of the emotions that other, infinitely more talented writers have lived through.

Anna Quindlen—”People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.”

William Stafford—”Lower your standards and keep writing.”

I am never an eloquent writer, and my standards are not particularly high when I’m at my best. Lowering those standards results in posts consisting of internet memes, and does nothing to aid my self confidence that I can produce anything that anyone else would find remotely interesting. More importantly, anything that I find remotely interesting.

Aldous Huxley—“he had been making an unsuccessful effort to write something about nothing in particular”

“Nothing in particular” describes many my topics quite well, and oftentimes, I feel I have nothing new to add to the words that have come before.

Paul Rudnick—”Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.”

Unfortunately, I have no external pressure and no deadlines except my own self imposed need to have a focus to aid in keeping my mind from turning completely into a mush formed by a combination of depression and treatments.

Richard Matheson“I’m sitting in my office trying to squeeze a story from my head. It is that kind of morning when you feel like melting the typewriter into a bar of steel and clubbing yourself to death with it.

The components of a computer melted down would likely do nearly as much damage, except not clubbing myself to death has been one of the foci of my life for the past number of years.

Every year, autumn closes in on me and I struggle against the claustrophobia that increases daily until after the winter solstice. Sometimes the ideas and the words flow, and sometimes they don’t. Lately my ideas have been stuck somewhere between my brain and my fingers.

Thank you for those who have the patience for waiting to read my words. You have more patience with me than I do myself.

All of the quotes above were garnered from the web and none have been researched as to their veracity.

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