Fighting writer’s block

A Woman Writing by Suzuki Harunobu (Brooklyn Museum)

A Woman Writing by Suzuki Harunobu (Brooklyn Museum)

Ask any writer: when you develop the habit of writing every day, writing becomes part of you, a need you must satisfy.

But when there’s an interruption, the longer the hiatus between writing bouts, the more difficult it becomes to pick up the metaphorical pen. In fact — and this certainly dates me — when I’m really stuck or when I’m at odds with myself over what to say, or especially when I’m at a total loss over what to say, I pick up pen and paper. The paper’s on a clipboard so that I can take it anywhere and still have a good, firm surface to write on.

Putting pen to paper is a measure born of desperation. If in that barren condition I try to write with my laptop, I can barely complete a paragraph because of all the revisions, cutting and pasting and deletions. Translated to paper, the results look like a map drawn by a disturbed, manic, peripatetic, lost and confused cartographer. Crosshatches indicate an unfruitful turn, and asterisks, numbers and arrows direct the reader now forward and then back.

In the meantime, the scrawl is illegible and the abbreviations undecipherable even by the author.

But you have to do what it takes. So I’ve begun.

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Filed under Musings, Personal

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