Sometimes I imagine myself staring down a small, ugly cube. A small, ugly cube that sits on my computer keyboard and prevents me from typing (although strangely enough, it does not interfere with my attempts to get on YouTube, Facebook, or Netflix). You may have guessed it already: this cube is my own personal Writer’s Block.
And sometimes, I admit, I like it. I let it stay there. I don’t really want to write the thing that I know I ought to write, so I let myself stare at the screen for five or ten minutes or so before I allow myself to “take a break.” Because I have “writer’s block.”
(This video is the partial inspiration for this post. Check it out!)
It’s like that Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where Calvin comes in toting a huge piece of wood. “What’s that?” Hobbes asks. “Oh,” Calvin replies, “It’s a writer’s block. You put it on your desk and then you can’t write anymore.”
Sometimes I want to blame my inability to write on something outside of myself, something that I have no control over. That’s when my Writer’s Block comes helpfully to my side and rests itself squarely on my notes. Of course I can’t write. Look at that Writer’s Block!
I want it to be something external, but it’s not. It’s in me. Or rather, it is me. The voices that tell me I’d better get it together, the voices that tell me I have nothing left, the voices that tell me I have plenty of time–they’re all me, and I need to learn to counteract them.
I was speaking to a freelance writer last week, and she told me that she doesn’t have a problem with writer’s block. She said she writes so many different things in so many different voices that if she’s stuck on one or tired of writing it, she switches to another.
I’m going to try to do this in my own writing as well. Even though many of my papers are similar styles of writing, this blog gives me an opportunity to try out different styles and subjects. I’m also going to try to work more on my personal creative writing as well. We’ll see how this goes, I guess. Maybe I’ll be able to knock that Writer’s Block to the other side of the room.