I’ve been listening to a lot of Bryan Ferry lately- particularly the song, “Slave to Love”. If I had a time machine, I would go back to 1985 and tell Mr. Ferry to change the song title to “Slave to Blog” because that’s what I feel like as of lately. He would be all like, “What the bloody hell is a blog?” and I’d say, “JUST CHANGE IT, BRIT, OR I’LL TAKE YOUR PRECIOUS CIGARETTES AND MODELS AWAY!” I’d also tell him that I would have to be in his music video and that we would be making out in said video.
My anxiety is building due to the recent realization that if I want to be a professional writer, I’m going to have to learn to deal with having writer’s block, being bored, feeling isolated, and maybe a wee bit sexually frustrated. Which are all items I’ve experienced lately. I’ve recently decided that staying focused on my career has become more important than over-socializing and even dating. Well, at least that’s what I keep telling myself Friday night after Friday night while I sit on the couch with a bottle of red wine in one hand, a block of cheese in the other hand, and a single tear escaping down my left cheek.
Believe me, I’ve fantasized about being a drunken and lonely writer who stays cooped up in her cabin and churns out pages of existential wonder. The problem is when I get drunk I can’t write a legible sentence. For example, a piece that I wrote when I was 22 and suuuuuper drunk, “Why doesn’t anyone love me? Why did I just hit my eye on the corner of the nightstand? Why does the nightstand not love me? I’m just a lonely nightstand looking for a home…”
I’ve also discovered that if I keep myself locked away from civilization in order to write, I start seeing hacked up children and dead women with giant bushes and I don’t like that.
I implore you- what is a young wannabe writer to do? Do I buckle down, quit whining, embrace the negative emotions, and stare at a pic of a shirtless Shia LaBeouf during those lonely nights? Or do I learn to create balance and find a way to socialize and date without compromising my writing?
And in closing, in the reinterpretation of some rave band called CSS’s words- “Blog is my boyfriend”. Well, Blog, don’t be surprised if I roll over and start choking you in your sleep one evening.
I've found that the longer I stay alone and cooped up without normal human interaction, the less I want to write and I find myself with nothing to actually write about.
A friend just visited me recently and that TINY bit of social interaction has completely turned around my "writers block."
Because really, after so long I can only write about my cat and the many conversations we have for so long.
I am not quite sure how to get past it. My blog has suffered from writers block/puppy/self censoring lately…
This was such a great post and I related with everything from making out with 1985 Brian Ferry to fantasizing about being a drunken lonely writer.
And cheese. No one should be expected to have self control in the face of brie. Or swiss. Or feta. Or any kind of cheese really.
In the end though if you have no interaction with anyone what do you write about? Even if you're a fiction writer you are constantly using your life experiences.
Of course, I say this but spend most friday nights typing and sipping red wine and wishing I had someone there to interrupt me.
Hmmmm…. While I like to blog as often as possible, missing a day or two every now and then hasn't been the end to my world. Sometimes life gets in the way, but life also provides blog fodder.
I am a Master of My Own Free Will except for when it comes to chocolate or bbq chips. As for writing – going out, taking chances, meeting ppl, etc, these are the raw materials from which we draw inspiration to write about! Right? This is how I legitimize getting drunk and making mistakes.. "Oh, this will make a great short story some day!" Except it won't b/c I'm not Francis Scott Fitzgerald. Writer fail.
yep I have been suffering writer's block too. And also a bad case of the "i can't be arsed". So I decided to go off brief and write whatever the hell I wanted – not about advertising but about my emotions. It helped.
So maybe you should try something different – try poetry perhaps, try a different subject, try writing about a book, or a program, or read someone else's blog and write your thoughts on what they have said.
When I get "the block" I like to clear my mind by taking a long walk, or watching something mindless on television. It helps a lot, and sometimes can even be inspiring.
Ok we can totally date and listen to Roxy Music, and write books, you just have to be okay with Mustaches and skateboarding.
I also like to have my blog updated as often as possible… But if a post feels forced or uninspired, do you really want to publish it? Or is it better to go out with friends, consume a ridiculous amount of food and alcohol (or whatever it is you like to do with your friends) and enjoy the real-world moment?
Oh man, this was pretty thought-provoking.
First, getting encouragement from a virtual friend to dress up as Bryan Ferry for Halloween was pretty cool. You wouldn't think that virtual stuff like that would be cool but it is. I dressed as junkie Justin Bieber any way. But it was worth it. That JB reference won't be funny in a year, but Bryan Ferry will be just as obscure-cool.
But that wasn't what I meant to talk about. Writer's block. That's what I meant to talk about.
I like David Duchovny/Hank Moody's quote that "writing is like having homework everyday." I'm not even in love with that show but that line alone is one of the things that justifies its existence.
I feel like a lot of people hit "the block" and think, "Eh, it'll pass." And it does, but they don't realize that this is what they're in for for life: stages of blockedness and unblockedness and lots of time to go crazy.
I guess the way I feel is that what they say about writing and cabin fever really is 100% true. I also just got that Shining reference. That bush was giant. Anyway, I feel like that story says a lot about writing. Some people are kind of sociopathic and writing gives them a career that doesn't contradict that. Some people are not sociopathic and manage to find a job that's a real counterbalance to their "writing life" that prevents the isolation from getting to them. As in, a job that doesn't involve sitting down at a computer and/or desk. And then other people don't begin as sociopathic but gradually become that way when they write. The middle one looks like ideal, I guess, but that one also involves less time for writing…
I think ideally, you create a balance. Or maybe a balance creates itself. There's something about writing that [I think, at least] is more of a compulsion. I hit a particularly low point once, and while it killed my ability to work on the thing I was doing pre-tragedy, post-tragedy I still wrote, just something different. And this was during a period of time where it was hard for me to even muster the energy to click on the little orange and white cone and watch the next episode of Doctor Who.
And since writing still happened during a time where I didn't want to do anything, part of me that believes that no matter what is on my plate, writing will happen then too. Now, I haven't tested this theory, and part of me doesn't really want to [traditional 9-to-5 situations are something I try to avoid… judge me all you want], but writing feels like a constant to me. And if I do stop one day, it's because I didn't "have it" after all, in which case it won't matter how much time I did or didn't have anyway.
Probably a fairly natural fear to have.
Of course, that doesn't really address the writer's block. I have a friend who took a professor's suggestion that "writer's block is a privilege" to heart. Apparently she had done ad work in the past, and because of the nature of that job, she had to produce constantly, thus not having ideas wasn't an option. This became something of a philosophy for my friend, to the point that he recently burned out, and had to actively take a break from writing. Which to most of us probably sounds like the literary equivalent of being too good of a lover, but this lack of downtime away from the keyboard eventually started to negatively effect my friend's already poor health.
Similarly, when I mentioned to a professor about my writer's block, she treated it as much more of a major crisis than I saw it as at first, and suggested I might consider therapy. In her mind, not being able to come up with ideas was the equivalent to a runner suddenly not being able to stand. Now every time I'm hit with a block, I feel even greater anxiety because I worry it means there's something not just wrong with the work, but with me specifically.
The point [I swear there is one], is that in both cases production has become the enemy. We get so hung up on what we want – quantity, that we forget what we need – quality. Now, you're immensely talented, and I haven't noticed either slipping on your part, but I do think that sometimes, if you're sitting up late and looking at the same blank page and blinking cursor that was there four hours ago, it's totally cool to call it a wash. In most cases, I think the best way to deal with writer's block is to not let it become a thing.
Will it always work? Nope. I'm still working on implementing it for myself. But I think if I could keep writer's block from always being a thing, then the few times it is won't feel like such a major crisis.
I make friends with crazy people. Crazy people usually have something interesting to say even if they don't realize it. Just don't let them follow you home.
And cheer up, we're all nightstands looking for a home in one sense or another.
I had to copy Benny's and Randall's comment on writer's block. I think I work on my 'quality' off line and still have the online 'quantity'.
I don't blog for gratification… that is what going back to school is going to do… I hope!! Blogging for me is more about release, personal and existential.
Anywho… keep writing!!
I'm so glad I'm not the only one who can't say no to cheese! D:
Your posts are always awesome doll, just keeping doing whatever it is you have been doing! 🙂
you are NOT a wannabe! You're already a writer and a good one.
You just happen to be a nightstand too and that's ok.
I feel the exact same way most of the time. It's like, when did we lose control of the blog? But, seriously, no one would hate you if you took some time off to regroup. I'm serious. If it keeps getting more exhausting (I know the feeling) then just stop for a little while. Go breathe. Go read. Go explore the world. It really helps.
I don't know what your goals as a writer are (i.e. do you want to write a novel? are you looking to write a short story collection? do you want to be a journalist? are you content with being a blogger, first and foremost?), but I think that if you feel like a bit of a slave to your blog, that might indicate that you feel you aren't working on other, more important writing work you've got in mind. And while I definitely enjoy reading your blog, you have to be true to yourself and make time for the things you know you want to accomplish. So if the blog is holding you back, then feel free to take a break now and then to work on your other projects. Your readers will still be here when you get back. 🙂