Do you ever have one of those days when you sit at your computer, staring at the blank 'Compose' page on Blogger (or WordPress or whatever your bloggy poison of choice may be), and think, "I am boring. I am a boring, boring person. My life is boring; my thoughts are boring; my clothes are boring; I am bored just writing this?" Or, if you prefer slightly more straightforward language, do you sit and think, "WHAT ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH AM I GOING TO WRITE ABOUT TODAY?"
I know you'll be shocked to learn that I feel that way right now.
I think there's nothing like the panic that overcomes a writer when we cannot think of anything to write. It is all-encompassing, it is pervasive, it creeps into every vein and every nerve until our palms are sweating and our hair is falling out and our bodies are vibrating with anxiety, and we would give our left arms (or legs or souls or lives or firstborn sons) for just ONE good, or even mildly mediocre, idea. It is, I believe, the ninth circle of a writer's hell, and it is the place we will all go to when we die without EVER WRITING ANYTHING.
Does this sound melodramatic?
GOOD. Because it is. It feels that melodramatic. Which is why I'm using so many italics and CAPITALS.
How can I be a writer, we think, if I can't come up with anything to WRITE? My very identity is being called question! My very soul! The very fiber of my being!! WHO AM I IF I DO NOT WRITE???
(As a side-note, this should be fairly obvious, but let me add that this extreme, panic-stricken melodrama does not help the situation. In no way is it useful, or even inspiring. It's rather more like asking for directions and then putting on a giant pair of noise cancelling headphones while someone is trying to give them to you, and getting anxious and angry because you can't hear what the person is saying, and telling them sternly to just SPEAK UP, for God's sake.)
And then of course, we realize that the answer to that question - WHO AM I IF I DO NOT WRITE, that is, in case you lost track of the thread of this post like I did - is that we are no one. Which then sends us into an unending spiral of depression and more anxiety.
Surprisingly, this also does not lead to any actual writing.
You know what does? Writing. Yes yes, I know, it's a catch 22. We have nothing to write about so we don't write, but the only way to start writing is to write, but we don't have anything to write about so we don't write, but the only way to start writing is to write...
Fun as that endless circling logic is, I hope you'll pardon me if I step away from it for a bit, and point out that I just spent an entire blog post writing about not writing. So, there it is: I can write, after all.
Yup, there is a point to this post. Who would've thought?
I know it might sound ridiculous, or useless, but this truly is the only way I've ever found to break that panic, unblock the blockage, and escape from the ninth circle of writer's hell: write. It doesn't matter what I write about. More often than not, I write about how I can't write. It feels impossible, so I write about that, too. I give myself free license, and I do NOT edit, ever. I bitch and moan and whine to myself, I indulge every ounce of my own melodrama, and then, somewhere around page ten of my insane ramblings, it stops. The complaining turns into brainstorming; the panic turns into curiosity. 'What if I write about the ninth circle of hell', I think? What if I write about that time I did a swan dive on the streets of Manhattan, or the time I sat in the passenger's seat in a car in Ireland and became convinced I was going to die because I didn't have a brake on my side - or a steering wheel?
So I write about those things. Or I write some more about not writing. Either way, I am writing, and that is the entire point.
Plus, it's really sort of fun when you get to post about not having anything to post about...