It hardly ever happens, but even the most Chatty Kathy Writer hits a dry spell now and then. I’m in one of those spells. That’s not to say that I don’t have a dozen articles rattling around in this racing brain of mine but…Winter. Y’know what I mean? Even Vitamin D can’t completely trump the Winter…not Blues exactly, more like…oh, look! There’s a squirrel. I just can’t concentrate these days.
No one was more surprised than me when I began writing professionally in 2008. I was plenty convinced by my father that I could not write. He was the writer in the family; not me.
Every writer has times when their stuff just won’t “gel.” An article is going along swimmingly and then slams on its brakes in a shower of sparks. You start article after article only to have all of them fizzle out. Good topics. Great material. But it just doesn’t…work. Hey! Even Bilbo Baggins (pictured above) had a bad day now and then.
Writing is like love: you can’t force it. When one of my articles fizzles spectacularly mid-swing, I don’t force it. Don’t sit here grinding my gears and spinning my wheels. Nope! Walk away! Immediately. Come back later. Try it again. If it still doesn’t gel, file it in Drafts and start a different article.
And that’s why there are one hundred and fifty three semi-started, half-done, almost-there articles sitting in my Drafts folder. They’ve got some interesting titles too.
- The Misogyny of Some Narcissists
- Putting Pain in Mental Boxes
- Scientific Research vs Personal Experience
- Narcissistic Parents: Is it Projection or Protection?
- Do Children Need Grandparents Even If They’re Narcissists?
- Hypothyroidism Remembered…and Re-Experienced
- Torn! When A Narcissist Dies
Oh, that last one was a good one! Back in May, two members of Michael’s family PMed me to tell me that my narcissistic grandmother had passed away. It threw me for a loop. On the one hand, the grief was stronger than I’d expected, given how much she’s loused up all of our lives. On the other hand, I also felt that at long last my mother would be free.
A day passed…no obituary.
Another day passed…still no obituary. Suddenly it struck me that something was off. Sure enough, they’d jumped the gun. Yes, someone with my grandmother’s surname had passed away…but it wasn’t my grandmother. It was her sister-in-law, my great-aunt. Naturally, there’s never been an apology nor a correction from the people who were so anxious to be the first to tell me that my grandmother had died.
Articles that fizzle on the launch pad are not a waste! All of us have days when writing is impossible. Maybe Michael’s been in hospital. Maybe I’m sick. Maybe something really upsetting has happened and I can’t concentrate for love nor money. That’s when I dig out one of my old drafts. Reading them is inspiring and pretty soon an old article that fizzled is all polished, primped and ready for public consumption.
The weird thing is that a writer is the worst judge of their own work. I knew a gal who loved to write. I was her editor and she’d proudly deliver her writing to me saying, “You won’t have to do much. It’s ready to go.” Unfortunately, she wrote as incoherently as she talked. Maybe worse. I usually was forced to scrap her words entirely and rewrite everything from scratch. That’s how I started writing professionally in the first place.
Over the past four years of writing Narcissism Meets Normalcy, I’ve noticed that I too am the worst judge of my own writing. Every time I read one of my own articles, groan loudly and tell Michael, “This ones a hot mess. It’s a dog’s breakfast”….the damn thing goes crazy. Thousands of hits. Trending. The works.
Every time I think an article is really great…it spectacularly bombs at the box office. I still can’t figure it why this trend keeps happening. It keeps me humble.
If you’re a writer who occasionally suffers from writer’s block, don’t let it turn your head. Remember what Graham Oakley wrote in his church mice books: “Desertion is the better part of valor.”
Writer’s Block, like OCD and pink elephants, thrives on attention. It’s a vicious circle. So don’t feed it. Desert it! Click that “Save Draft” button and walk away! Try a different subject. Write what’s really on your mind instead of what you think you should be writing about. That’s what I do. I’ve had terrible Writer’s Block this week and voila! 781 words later…and I could’ve sworn I didn’t have a darn thing to talk about today.
Thanks for reading and have a good weekend!