Monday, November 14, 2011

Writer’s Block: Symptoms and Cure

Writer’s paralysis, more commonly known as “Writer’s Block” is an insidious disease
that can come on suddenly and take many forms. Mild cases may be called procrastination.

More serious attacks are referred to as – sloth. And the most severe cases as – paralysis.

How does a writer cure this disease in its early stages? First, recognize the symptoms.

  1. You put off writing by doing miscellaneous chores such as dishwashing, bed-making, vacuuming, or minor home repairs such as fixing the toaster, replacing burnt-out light bulbs, paying bills, (you know the kind of thing).
  2. You finally make it to the computer, but the first thing you do is check your email, Facebook and Twitter, and answer all communications found there.
  3. You respond to all physical demands such as hunger pangs, caffeine and/or (heaven forbid) nicotine cravings instantly.
  4. Nap-time.
  5. Dinner with a little wine.
  6. TV, party, movie, whatever…
  7. Bedtime. Restless night due to bad conscience, guilt, feelings of worthlessness, followed by nightmares: taking a math test unprepared, giving a party with no refreshments in the house, appearing on a panel and getting tongue-tied.
  8. Waking tired, unrefreshed, ready to begin a new day, repeating all of the above.
  1. Set alarm for six AM.
  2. Rise, shower, dress, have breakfast with a heavy shot of caffeine.
  3. Turn off cell phone.
  4. Go to computer. Do not check email. Do not check Face book. Do not check Twitter.
  5. Go directly to Word or its equivalent.
  6. Bring up a blank page.
  7. After some serious thinking (no more than ten minutes) start typing. Continue typing until noon.
  8. Break for lunch. (Optional: Do dishes. Make bed)
  9. Back to computer. Print out what you wrote in morning. Read it. Edit it. Revise it, if necessary.
  10. Dinner
  11. Exercise: Walk, jog, bike or visit gym. Recreate: TV, read, fraternize with family or friends.
  12. Bed. Sleep dreamless, guilt-free sleep. Awake rested, refreshed, ready to repeat all of the above.

Note: Those who work fulltime or care for small children must adjust their schedules accordingly. Try to set aside two or three hours in the early morning or late evening for writing on a regular basis. For you, the challenge is greater, but it can be done.

P.S. Please know, I have suffered all these symptoms and have come close to becoming a terminal case. I also know that this disease has a habit of recurring. No cure is permanent. There is no telling when the dread symptoms may appear again.

Be on guard!

Robin Hathaway

1 comment:

  1. Charming, amusing and oh so true to life, my dear friend Robin!