Sooner or later it happens to nearly everyone. This time it happened to me. I’ve been away, clear across the country away, at a family reunion to belatedly celebrate my father’s 90th birthday. But I’ve been back nearly a week.
Today I have to write a blog post. I’ve been telling myself. Today for sure, I will write a blog post. … I have to get that blog post written before the library group meeting. … It’s late now. I meant to get something written. First thing in the morning, no matter what!
I stood at the sink, paying unusual attention to shining the sink. What will I write about? Many topics raced through my mind. I could write about description. I want to write about that. I’ll be teaching a class on description and dialogue again soon. What picture will I use?
I could write about that lightning storm that just struck. Storms are metaphors. I could write about metaphors. … I could write about that book that’s been sitting on the living room table for weeks. … I could build on that comment somebody out west made about how most people think their life is so plain and ordinary that nobody would care, so nobody writes about ordinary things and fifty years later nobody knows what was ordinary fifty years earlier.
The list of topic ideas seemed endless. I could and probably will eventually write about all those things. I might write about the spiral of guilt. I might write about the need to find that center of love and write from there rather than guilt.
So many options. And still I kept thinking, I’ll write that blog post as soon as I get back from taking that picture to be rematted … As soon as I fold the laundry … As soon as I get the leaves blown out of the front yard before it rains.
Eventually my Inner Critic kicked into high gear. “You are letting your readers down. … You get in there and write right now or else! … blah, blah, blah!” My reaction: “Try and make me!” Of course that didn’t help either.
I’ve gotten a whale of a lot done this week. It just hasn’t been writing. There is still an endless list of non-writing things to do, but my fingers finally found the keyboard again. Sometimes we just need a break. Sometimes it’s okay to feel stuck. I’ve been making that list of things to write about, so now that the tow truck came and pulled me out of the sand, I have a map to keep my wheels on the road.
Write now: write a story about being stuck. Have you been physically stuck in snow and ice? On sand? In mud? Did your car battery die when you needed to be somewhere? Were you unable to solve a math problem once upon a time? Fail to finish your crossword? Or maybe you’ve been unable to think of anything to write about. Write about that!
Image credit: Preston Rhea