Image: Rory Bristol

Writer’s Block and the Jailor

Image: Rory Bristol

Image: Rory Bristol

Some days, I sit down at my computer, see that blank page, and have no idea what is going on. It’s like walking into a room, walking back out, and walking back in, hoping that your brain will remember what the hell you were doing. Just like that, except with writing.

Most of the time, this isn’t a problem. I’m guessing that my hundreds of posts have shown you at least that much. The real problem is when I need to be writing a particular thing. Say, GeekDad and GeekMom. I have regular deadlines. I have to produce content on a schedule, or I lose my job.

But when it’s time to write about parenting and geeky awesomeness, I end up wanting to write my fiction. Other times, I will have scheduled time to work on my fiction, and I feel compelled to write about my shitty childhood. It’s like my brain thinks it’s funny to jerk me around.

It’s like planning your day around two cats and somebody else’s erratic toddler. No matter what you had planned, the situation is going to take over, and leave you in the dust.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve rushed to my computer, fingers crossed, ready to put the perfect words to my thoughts, and I’ve got nothing when I sit down. It all leaked out before I could get it out of my fingers.

It really takes the wind out of my sails, I tell you what. Writing is what I do. The keyboard is my job, which is why there aren’t letters on half the keys. When I can’t even do that, how am I supposed to do anything? It triggers my inner Jailor. I feel crushed under the weight of what I can’t do, and it takes everything to put up and shut up. I still have to work, because eating is good. I still have to be a parent, and a partner, because my family deserves that.

But that little voice in my head gets louder every second I stare at the blank screen.

You can’t do it. You’ve got the fortitude of a hamster. You’re going to fail, and die, and everyone will know how failed and dead you are. You suck.

And then I remind myself, “The Jailor isn’t the boss of me.” I take deep breaths. I close my eyes, mash my fingers over the keyboard until words are coming out, and I pray that I can use anything I’m about to type, and it won’t end up saved on my desktop amongst the myriad orphan articles. Taking deep breaths, this morning. Taking deep breaths indeed.

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