I don’t feel like writing a post today.
I’m not feeling it.
Nope. Not there.
Writers know the drill when they don’t feel like writing. They sit down, they write, and whatever comes out is supposed to be the seed for a creation the writer couldn’t even know existed until it popped up to the surface and grew.
It happens. It has happened to me. But it’s not happening today. That’s the trouble with a blog. There’s no actual deadline and nobody is calling or emailing me wanting to know when I’m going to finish the damn thing, but there’s this thing about commitment. It lurks in the air egging us on, no matter where we are, even in the thick air above a self-induced, non-paying, silly-sounding excuse to try and get people to read whatever it is we’re writing. (Note: “blog” is short for “web log”, which is almost as silly, but not quite. At least they’re two real words.)
Truman Capote didn’t live long enough to get in on the blogging kick but he would have loved this sort of thing. He would have been a Tweeting fool and a Facebook fan, don’t you just know? It could be that all that snippet-writing might well have saved him from the humiliation of writer’s block, which, in his last years brought him down so low the dreaded words actually appeared in his New York Times obituary. (For years he claimed to be working on Answered Prayers, a thinly disguised tell-all novel about former high-society friends who had abandoned him earlier, after a shorter tell-all, La Côte Basque 1965, appeared in Esquire Magazine. He was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in advances over the years he claimed to be working on it–in installments, even though he never produced more than three chapters, one of which was the Esquire piece.)
Ernest Hemingway was a victim of writer’s block, too, which, some say, factored into the overall sense of impotence that caused him to take his own life. I don’t know if he ever admitted out loud that writer’s block had afflicted him, but he did offer advice about how to overcome it:
The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.
(Note: I don’t even need to take bets about how EH would have felt about blogging, Tweeting, and FB following. He would have hated every aspect, every angle, every annoying, disgusting little nugget. He would have ripped the Internet to shreds. It might just have given him reason to live. . .)
But okay, Mr. Hemingway, your method may work for some writers but I’m not one of them. My subconscious might be working on it all the while I’m away from my keyboard but my memory wouldn’t be recording it. My memory and my subconscious only get along part of the time. The rest of the time they pretend they’ve never heard of each other. No, I have to finish a thought while it’s still fresh or I’ll forget I ever had a thought at all, let alone try and remember what it was.
But I didn’t mean to get off track and talk about writer’s block when that’s not what I have today. Today I just don’t feel like writing. So if you’ve read this far and you see nothing wrong with what I’ve just written, I hope you’ll keep it to yourself. My subconscious does work well with my ego–too well–and someday soon, if they think it’s been successful, they may get together to try this pathetic blogging trick again.
And knowing my memory, it’ll never catch it.
And that’s how those vicious rumors about writer’s block get started.