Writer’s Block or Why I Didn’t Write Today

If you read writing blogs or how to books on writing, you’ll very quickly come across the basic topic of, “Writer’s block.”  Yes that sinister soul sucking malady that terrorizes all writers and drives many from their keyboards to fill their souls with shame and guilt.

The most often heard cry from the novelist’s desk is, “I don’t know what to write about!”

I have an answer to that cry, sarcastic and flippant, but it is an answer. It goes like this:  Write anyway – you can always rewrite and edit later.  Not every piece of writing needs to win a Pulitzer Prize (bet this blog post won’t).

I have wondered from time to time if journalists suffer from writer’s block.  Think about.  Does the New York Times hold classes for journalists who can’t think of a thing to write?  Let’s say you’re a reporter on the city desk and a ten-car pileup, closes the Holland Tunnel.  You’re sent out on assignment.  Is it an option to come back to the editor and say, “Couldn’t think of a thing to write.  I think I’ve got writer’s block.”?

What do you think the response will be?  A compassionate hug with a free pass to the next writing seminar or a quick kick up the backside with a ticket to the unemployment line?

I will leave the answer to that question as an exercise for the reader.

I bring up the above little illustration because I am about 15 minutes into an essay where I am suffering from writer’s block.  Yup, I don’t have a clue what to write about but I have a self-imposed weekly deadline for my blog and would hate to have to fire myself for missing it.  So I am following my own advice and writing anyway.

Some times free writing – the process of just writing whatever comes into your head – for 15 minutes, is enough to get the brain and creativity working.  I will admit to writing a lot of stuff that you never see on this blog.  I figure if I can write for an hour, there will be enough stuff to edit out for a decent post. And if there isn’t a decent post – well I’ve got tons of pictures in iPhoto that I could post.

Hey, photo captions count as writing.

My reason today for not having an award wining post is:  I’ve been busy and I am very tired today.

Heather and I know we’ve been over doing lately and yesterday, we planned a day out. As Julia Cameron suggests in her book “The Artist’s Way,” to ‘breath in’ – to do something that feeds our soul, rests our mind and inspires our creativity.

I think I inhaled too deeply. We went for a hike at one of our favorite spots, Fall Creek (watch for a Reluctant Hiker post with pictures and some words).  It was a great day out.  We hiked about four miles and I took 81 pictures and 10 video clips on my iPhone.  Today I can barely move without pain – well maybe not that bad, but yesterday did show how badly out of shape I am.

I was also still a bit tired from my day on Thursday.  My brother, Wild Bill, had his treatment procedure for his prostate cancer.  I was up at 5:00 am to get him to the hospital and it was well after 1:00 pm before I staggered home.  Bill’s fine and the procedure went as expected.  His doctors are confident that this treatment will be enough to knock out the cancer.

The emotional and physical energy drain was more than I expected.  Guess I am getting a bit too old to be lifting wheelchairs in and out of cars and chasing doctors and nurses around hospitals.  Since Bill and I have the same cancer the emotions ran deeper since I knew what he was going through.

And I am just plain physically out of shape.  Have I mentioned that yet?

I’ve been doing my daily walks at lunch time and have been trying to eat as healthy as possible (a large pastrami sandwich is healthy if you skip the bag of chips and the soda, right?).  I have felt my fitness level fall lately – gotten worse since our treadmill died.  You’d think that a treadmill would last more than ten years – especially when you consider that I didn’t use it for five of those years.

So here I am, out of shape, with nothing to write about.

Well I’ve got a solution to both.  I am now committing myself to a serious fitness program to both improve cardiovascular and general fitness with the vain hope that I might lose some weight.  Heather and I are going to look into health club options and possibly buying a new fitness machine.

Okay, get the laugher out of your system now, I’ll wait…

Next week I shall write about my new fitness program, my progress, goals and the name of the hospital to send the get well cards too.

Till next time,

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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5 Responses to Writer’s Block or Why I Didn’t Write Today

  1. gpcox says:

    I found a very helpful trick for writer’s block – just lie down and relax for about 15 minutes. It reduces the amount of adrenaline going thru your body that hinders creativity – you can put a pad and pen next to your bed for nighttime too.


  2. Since all three of us are fighting the fight with the same C, you know I’m rooting for you. Thanks for my inspiration for my blog this week. As soon as I can remove this block I’ll get my thoughts down on paper as well.


    • Andrew says:

      Thanks – as you know it’s not an easy thing. This whole cancer thing is very emotionally charged and can be difficult to write about. When I first starting to write about it, I was just writing for myself to sort out my feelings. Only after I’d writing awhile was I ready to rewrite and post it to this blog.

      Hang in there.


  3. bronxboy55 says:

    For someone who didn’t know what to write about, you’ve said a lot in this post. I hope both you and Wild Bill will be feeling better soon.


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