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Writer’s Block? Try Writer’s Blah

July 27, 2010

First of all, I want to give my prayers and respects to C.J. for persevering through crap that most of us will, hopefully, never have to deal with until after we retire.

As for writer’s block, I have suffered from a form of it for decades.

It’s called “Writer’s blah.”

I wish I could be serious about all this like C.J., but that’s not my style. I really wish I could, but those of us who know what “C.J. Ellisson” translates into (SWMBO) will understand.

When I sit back and think about why I have the blahs with my writing, I know there are several possible reasons.

Ray: You know what it could be? Past-life experience intruding in on present time.

Egon: Could be erased memories stored in the collective unconscious. I wouldn’t rule out clairvoyance or telepathic contact either.  

Greg: I’m sorry. I don’t believe in any of those things.

Peter: Well, that’s all right. I don’t either.

Okay, let me cut this off before I get sued by Harold Ramis. And apologies to Sigourney Weaver for taking her part in Ghostbusters.

Actually, my blahs come from letting life get in the way and from what is probably an undiagnosed case of ADD (must thank George for the July 19 “Writers & Mental Illness” blog  for stirring that up). Case in point, as I type this, I am listening to Insane Clown Posse on my iTunes, while watching a Road Runner/Coyote marathon on my DVD player. I’ve also thumbed through two old issues of Justice League Europe and Justice League America.

Of course (or off course), the symptoms of the blahs are striking. I feel lethargic at times (probably from all the junk food). I would rather go out to Goodwill and shop for nothing than do anything constructive. I’ll get down on myself for not having a social life and then go out to night clubs and more adult clubs, while not hanging out with co-workers at happy hour.

I’ll get into these funks and doldrums that can last for weeks. I can be the best guy at work and the worst guy at home (which is sad because I’m a lifelong bachelor yearning for Michelle Rodriguez, Lucy Liu, Rachel McLish, Kerry Ellis or, gasp, Kristy McNichol to walk through the front door). I’ll dwell so much on one thing – like the U.S. Census clerk job – that I’ll ignore everything else. Then, I’ll try to compensate by going out more and doing something de-constructive.

Since I started working for the Census back in March, I have written exactly two chapters (prologue and chapter one of Red Herring) and exactly three articles for my Examiner.com blog. I’ll even be honest and say that I often wrote my weekly blogs for Wicked Writers late on Sunday night and I apologize to David and C.J. for that.

So, what gets me out of my blahs? I haven’t been able to pinpoint anything specific. Usually, I get tired of the rut and shut it down for a while. Going to clubs and spending three hours nursing half a bottle of Smirnoff Ice does get real old real fast.

Ah, if only it could be as easy as planting an idea in one’s brain like in that fantastic Leonardo DiCaprio movie Inception that I saw  Sunday (I highly recommend it even for non-science  fiction buffs). It doesn’t appear that Christopher Nolan  has writer’s block.

Currently, no one’s implanting any ideas in my head  (though I’ve got way too much free space and someone should at least try).

But, on a different note, I’m free.

My four-month stint with the U.S. Census Bureau ended last Friday (lack of work) so now I have plenty of free time to do the blogs, writing and sports articles. As soon as I get over the doldrums of being let go. I mean, we all knew the census was a temp job, but I was in a set routine for four months.

As for advice for others, sorry, ain’t got any, except maybe getting yourself into a set routine. I might also suggest doubling down and maintaining some discipline. I plan to devote an hour in the morning and an hour or two in the evening to writing. The middle of the day will be for job hunting and early evening for Examiner.com.

Whoa, wait a minute!

I actually think I just solved this round of the blahs. I was writing my stuff late at night (like 1 a.m. late, not 11 p.m.), but I had been going to bed at 11 to prepare for work.

Hey, I guess that means time management is the way to beat writer’s blahs.

Hmm…

After all this dribble, I accidentally stumbled over the answer.

Thanks, guys. If I hadn’t sat down to write this blog on writer’s block, I wouldn’t have figured it out.

I’ll get right on it.

Tomorrow.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2010 3:17 am

    I know exactly what you’re writing about. I’ve thought the same things, and yes, a set routine helps a great deal. The real trick is allowing yourself to actually get into the routine and stay in it. Us creative types can sometimes be our own worst enemies in that department.

    Best of luck to you.

  2. July 27, 2010 7:45 am

    Ah…Greg. I have I told you lately that I love you? Your voice comes through so brilliantly in your pieces I fell like the next time I’m down in Atlanta we could get together for dinner and chat for hours.

    I know exactly what you mean cause I go through the same thing, I love the term writing blahs. And I think writing in these blogs is a form of discipline and is that start to getting back on track and not letting ourselves fall out of the habit of writing. I’m sorry to hear about the job front and wish you the best of luck in finding something quick.

    And you’re dead on – write an hour or two twice a day on a set schedule (that’s my plan, it’s the sticking to it part that’s hard).

    And by the way – what does SWMBO stand for? oh wait I get it – “she who must be obeyed”! Damn, I finally got that after a couple of minutes and with no coffee in me yet. I think that’s hilarious! But sadly, I bet my family would nod in agreement. 😛

    • July 27, 2010 9:49 am

      Oh, don’t be too hard on your family. They should have realized the SWMBO a long time ago and gotten used to it.

      Thanks for the encouragement. It remains to be seen if I can have the discipline to stick to the routine.

      P.S.: As for telling me lately that you love me, I thought we agreed not to make that public?

      • July 27, 2010 9:58 am

        Oh yes – they realized it a LOooOOng time ago. And as long as they all do as I say we get along great. All kidding aside, they really do tolerate me quite well.

        Now my kids are clamoring for me to write a book for them to read (obviously my one and only book so far is not for the younger set!). I started it on vacation and so far so good – they love the first five pages.

  3. July 27, 2010 12:44 pm

    Ah! You two are hilarious. I love the banter. Schedules are fouling up what I thought might be a nice two week vacation. Sadly, I’m now thinking about canceling that second week. In any event, the back and forth put a grin on my face.
    Cool post, Gregory. For a while there I was asking myself where you were headed, but since I love all of the film, cartoon, comic, and music references, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Thanks for posting.

    • July 27, 2010 4:22 pm

      Ah, that’s the kicker. Even I don’t know where I’m headed most of the time. Like you, I’m trying to kick back and enjoy the ride. Problem is that I’m driving.

      And I hope that the schedule fouling up your vacation isn’t the Wicked Writers one. You can take care of that by bringing your laptop with you or dropping by a local library.

      • James Garcia Jr permalink*
        July 27, 2010 5:08 pm

        No, it was my creepy teenager and his ever-changing schedule! We’re thinking that we’re going to kidnap him and take him to the coast with us. He has a small part in a local production of Guys & Dolls that opens soon. No, the blog is great! I’m ready to start my next assignment.

  4. george allwynn permalink*
    July 28, 2010 12:22 am

    Hey Greg!

    As soon as Ghostbusters was brought up (followed by comic books and drinking) I knew you were a man with all the answers!

    Thanks for the laugh – and you know, you might be on the right track with that time management thingie…

    “Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love you, tomorrow! You’re only just a day away….”

    (ah, where would we be without musicals?)

    BTW – is Stone Mountain anywhere near Dalton GA?

    • July 28, 2010 2:00 am

      Thanks George. I have to put some humor into this weblog.

      Actually, Dalton is in the northwest corner of the state, by the national forest and Fort Oglethorpe and much closer to Chattanooga than Atlanta.

      Stone Mountain is a suburb of Atlanta, almost due east of the 285 loop.

  5. george allwynn permalink*
    July 28, 2010 1:06 am

    oh – and P. S. —> A man of your distingushable charm and lasting impression of intelligence has no need to limit your awesomeness for the likes of Michelle Rodriguez, Lucy Liu, Rachel McLish, Kerry Ellis or Kristy McNichol!

    I look at it this way — if they haven’t busted through your front door by now, chances are you’re just too good for them!

    So, put on your loafters, slip on that polyester suit, and smooze with the real public!

    Mingle with the people and find yourself someone like Bea Arthur, Phyillis Diller, Zelba Rubinstein, Marilyn Chambers or (gasp!) good ole’ Ernest Borginine (well, Ernie in drag anyway) – I bet they’d be real cool to talk to and get you out of a writers funk.

    Granted – they’re dead, but hey!

    What a story that would make!

    • July 28, 2010 8:55 am

      Actually, Ernest Borgnine is still alive. In fact, he’s in that new movie “Red” with Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich.

      • george allwynn permalink*
        July 28, 2010 2:51 pm

        REALLY? I love Ernest Borgine. (not much in the looks department – and I swear, everythime I’m in the hospital, my main nurse always looks like Ernest Borginine in Drag. Go Fig.) Someone told me a few years ago he was dead. Well, thanks – you just made my day!

        PS – my daughter, son in law and two grandsons live in Dalton – so when ever I see someone from GA, I always ask how far away – to get a minds eye where they are located. Thanks…

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