Writer's Block: The Myth and the Curse

Many of you who read this site may be writers yourselves, so read closely, as this could be of some help to you. Those of you who are not writers but who appreciate the work of said writers (for simplicity's sake, we will refer to you as "readers") may find this insight into the life of a writer interesting. Hopefully, you will realize how much work we scribes do for you lazy, left-to-right, up-and-down, tracing-with-your-finger lips-moving slobs.

Writer's Block is one of the worst curses that could ever strike an author, except for maybe that car that struck Stephen King all those years ago. One minute, you're on top of the world, pulling clever ideas from the ether. You effortlessly compose full paragraphs in your head during such mindless activities as walking to work, showering, talking to your family and other more intimate activities, too sensitive to describe to such delicate tiny readers as yourselves.

However, suddenly, it strikes. The flow of creativity may ebb from a full flow to an unsteady drip, or you may get thrown off track. Sometimes this occurs after writing an unsuccessful piece, like, say, one about how big-nosed women are suddenly back in style. You're suddenly a choke artist: one mistake and you can't even remember where to put your commas, much less come up with ideas.

Never fear, writers. Those of you who may be suffering from that same ailment may find this of aid. Those who will stumble upon Writer's Block in the future (and you will! For I have placed a curse upon thee) might want to clip this and store it with your favorite coupons and Dear Abby-type columns for future reference.

One good idea for those suffering from Writer's Block is to avoid the Unoriginal Mad Libs tendency. This hearkens back to the days of Mad Libs games, when the players, tired of their Libs, could no longer come up with original nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs. Instead, they simply looked around the room for ideas. So, if you are sitting in your office, you may think you can write a piece about cubicles, computers or plastic garbage cans. If you actually can, that's great, you've solved your Writer's Block and you're on your way and I hate you. However, it's more likely that people are not going to want to read a piece about how tilty your office chair is. Similarly, do not stare at an inanimate object intently, willing it to inspire you with an idea. These objects are usually quite reluctant to release their interesting and hilarious secrets, at least until the Judgment Day.

Do not ask for ideas from others. You are guaranteed either to become exasperated by the weak and ridiculous ideas lobbed your way from so-called friends and loved ones ("Why don't you write about boobs?") and wonder why you associate with idiots, or you will find yourself even more mired in frustration as you realize that you are apparently the only world who can't come up with a decent topic to write 1,000 words about.

Another hideous mistake you can make is to write a piece about Writer's Block. This is possibly the most singularly unoriginal idea in the history of man. You may think you can put a fresh spin on Writer's Block, but you cannot. I actually checked with the officials and this blog post fulfills the quota of available pieces in the universe that discuss Writer's Block. Sorry.

Do not shy away form using the list format for writing. Some picky editors may say the format is tired and for lazy writers only That may be so but for every lazy writer there are 100 even lazier readers who do not believe they can afford the luxury of entire paragraphs.

Feel free to use the "Internet" as a source of inspiration for your writing. You may be surprised by what you find!

Finally, you can find good ideas for pieces simply by going to sleep. Salvadore Dali routinely used his dreams as inspiration for his paintings, so why shouldn't you? Please use discretion, however, in which dreams you decide to use. Your reading audience might not be ready for a piece like this:

Linda was pregnant. Well, she wasn't really pregnant, because somehow her vagina was missing, but she knew that she was pregnant and that it was really weird. John was there but it wasn't really John. It was this guy who looked like Stevie Ray Vaughn but she knew that it was actually John. Anyway, then this snake came up and started talking.

So fair writer, hopefully this will help as you dig yourself out of your Writer's Block hole! Don't worry, even if your attempts to jump-start your creativity fail, your natural ability will eventually take over. Perhaps it only needed a rest. After all, it's not as though writing was your only means of income, is it?

Oh it is? Yikes. Sorry. I had no idea. Good luck!