This week was rough for me. Not only did I go back to work teaching cranky children in a non air conditioned school, but my writing… well, it just wasn’t working for me.
Allow me to backtrack a bit. It was Tuesday afternoon, my first day of summer school and anyone who remembers what first days are like will understand that hectic doesn’t begin to describe the process. I didn’t lose any of my darlings, everybody got on the right bus and only one lunch box was left behind. Success! I had planned to go back home and write. I had an awesome last week adding about 12,000 words to my manuscript 5300 of those on Monday. But when I got home to write my brain melted. I was done. I was mentally exhausted. I decided to give myself a time out. A little rest and you’ll be fine. So, I went upstairs turned on the People’s Court, and vegged. Ah! Exactly what I needed. I went back to my computer ready to go but, nada. I pecked out a few words and decided the only thing I was going to produce in that moment was toilet worthy. I left my computer after checking Facebook, my email, my bank balance and picked up my friend’s work in progress. She is new to writing, doubtful of her talent, you know, all the things we all were when we first picked up the pen. I was trying to encourage her through text message to keep going, to pursue her dream. She responded, “I know , but writing so hard.”
I let that marinate in my mind over the next couple of hours and ventured back to my laptop. I sat in my favorite writing spot, put my fingers to the keyboard but nothing came out. I have the whole book plotted in my head. I know what I am supposed to be writing but the greatness in my head doesn’t match the product on the screen. I went back and reread my last scene and decided that what I wrote was redundant and hit the delete button. My friend was right. Writing was sooo hard. My total word count for that day was negative 396.
How lowering! Okay, I told myself, try again tomorrow and I did, and nada, zip, zilch, nothing. Thursday despite my best efforts no golden words came flowing from my fingers. Friday I forced out a pitiful 1000. I began to feel a little bummed. I had entered this Double Dog Dare Challenge with my sister scribes. I was supposed to be kicking butt and taking names, but I wasn’t and to top it all of every time I sat in my favorite writing chair to write I began to itch, like tiny little bugs were crawling over my skin. What was that all about? It was my mind revolting!
By Saturday I was sick of myself and my lack of progress. I went shopping. That always makes me feel better but after dropping too much money and seeing not one but two students in the store I was still too bummed to write. So I got my hair done. To quote my grandmother, “If you look good, you feel good and if you feel good, you do go.” And I did feel good. I was whipping my hair back and forth like Willow Smith, ( I hope some of you know what I was referring to there,) I put my new shoes on and a cute sundress. I starting reading a book. After all that I finally felt better. I took my laptop away from its normal spot and tried writing in bedroom. Tada! success. 2300 words Saturday night. 1200 Sunday morning. And it was work I could be proud of.
I go through this with everything I write. That period of self-doubt, the fear of letting it go, the times where my head is so blocked I’m wishing for a transplant. For me thankfully it only lasted a few days, but for some of us it lasts weeks or months or even years. I am sure this will happen to me again, in fact I am counting on it.
Here’s what I need from you… Tell me how you combat writer’s block/ writer’s blues.