Previous Post
Off the Record: Nile FM
Next Post
Mental Constipation

The Writer’s Block Dilemma

What do you do when you can’t think of anything to write? Write anyway, rambles our favourite bitch in the whole wide world…

I’ve had one of those days…actually one of those weeks. Well, it’s months if I’m honest…maybe a few years…I don’t know!

What I’m trying to say is that my mind is currently a screensaver; a screensaver with the face of Bradley Cooper on it, but a screensaver nonetheless. Productivity, in the overall sense of the word, has more or less reached the obligatory and grinding standstill that every person who considers themselves creative involuntarily hits every once in a while.

And rather than following my usual strict routine of watching romantic comedies and ordering in junk food that is bound to give me diarrhoea before I’ve finished chewing it (Bridget Jones-style) to get me back on track, this time I’ve resolutely resolved myself to throwing a monkey wrench right into my foolproof system. I’ve decided to be productive with my lack of productivity and I’ve written a manuscript.

It is a short manuscript in three parts and it is a manuscript about rien de rien/nothing/zilch/naught/fuck all…take your pick! There is no need for it to be in three parts…it just is; not unlike The Hobbit film trilogy that we’re all hoping we’ll live long enough to see reach completion.

Now, having warned you in advance that there is no point to the upcoming text and that there is no real conclusion, I give to you, ladies and gentlemen:

The Ramblings of Mental Constipation, Part 1.

Something wants to come out. I don’t know what it is. This isn’t the first time I open a blank document, only to close it again, though the nagging persists. Something tickles my brain and a relentless itch perches itself at the tip of my fingers, almost ready to flow through and out of me.

Tapping the keyboard with my index finger. Nothing. No words. Just a dramatic personal narrative going through my head, with words echoing so loud in my cranium that I, almost, expect the rest of the world to hear it as well. It is like I am the narrator of a movie about a girl on the brink of doing something amazing, or discovering something that will alter the course of things forever. And that girl is me.

Only I don’t know what’s going to happen…not yet anyway. I am both the author and the protagonist, just to make things as complex as possible for myself and here’s how: the author will always steer the protagonist into conflict, through conflict and then into resolution. The author is the driver and the roadmap, and if the author has no idea what they’re doing, well the protagonist is pretty much fucked, right? If you’ve just understood that, then I bet you’re nodding. I can just about see you nodding emphatically. I’m nodding too at the computer screen, looking like a real idiot.

I’ve scrolled up and read what I’ve just written, and it seems to be subtly humorous and witty enough to capture peoples’ attention, not to be overly confident or anything. I do wish I knew what the hell I was getting at though. Maybe a break will help.

*****

I’ve closed this document, only to open it two days later. I’m not sure why I don’t scrap this whole attempt at writing something meaningful and life-altering, but something is making me keep it. The same bloody nagging. ‘It will come… ‘. Prophetic words travel through my mind. Either prophetic or moronically optimistic; I quite hope, for my sake, that it is the former.

The truth is that since I was young enough to remember, I knew that I was meant to do something out of the ordinary. Something that broke the mould. Something that didn’t make sense. But what? What was it?

That is where the journey of life, I suppose, will lead me. I am a person filled with dreams, and an insatiable curiosity regarding this world and whatever lies beyond it…

Look at the last few sentences. After writing them, I feel like I could vomit a little. It reads like a cheesy self-help book or the start of a Paulo Coelho novel that you can buy from your nearest bookstore for thirty Egyptian Pounds.

And the eternal questions that, I believe, plague every single writer who has ever tried to write anything at all (whether it’s a book on the ‘100 Books You Have To Read Before You Die’ list or just an obituary in a local newspaper) pops into mind: do I only have the ability to write in silly clichés and reiterate what I’ve read/seen/experienced in my own words? Is there really no capacity for true inspiration, creativity and original thought?

I know these are questions of a philosophical nature that have been tackled over and over again to no avail. And honestly, if I were to reach a conclusion, I think I would get seriously depressed. If I was able to, through philosophical reasoning, reach an end result of sorts, it would simply outline for me the limitations of my own thinking. And I don’t like to think of my limitations, only my potential.

There is one thing I know for certain and that is we cannot even begin to understand this world or the invisible forces that affect it. I am not just speaking of the supernatural, but also of the impact of the entire cosmos on our existence.

I know that if I reach a conclusion, it is because I either lack the imagination to take into consideration all of the variables associated or that I am simply asking the wrong questions.

Okay, that’s better. Less self-help, more critical thinking. Tap. Tap. Tap. Still don’t know where I’m going with this. Maybe closing this document for another couple of days will help.

*****

It’s been more than a couple of days this time; more like a couple of weeks since I’ve even thought about this laughable attempt to birth a stimulating and gripping piece of work. Like an idiot, I forgot to date this entry and so far, it just reads as a personal documentation of severe writer’s block…only it is not just the events that elude me, but the entire subject matter. 

Undoubtedly, if anyone has read this far, they probably think that this is some sort of stylistic technique that I’ve chosen to utilize to grip the attention of the reader. I say ‘undoubtedly’. I don’t really know why I assume that anyone who is going to pick this up and read it is going to be undoubtedly erudite enough to make that assumption. To be honest, if you’ve read this far, and if I have your undivided attention, you’re more likely suffering from a potentially undiagnosed mental illness. Or you’re just nosy. Or bored. Or all three simultaneously…and isn’t that a terrifying thought?

Anyway, back to my original train of thought (if you can, in fact, call it that; I use the word ‘thought’ very loosely) regarding this seemingly stylistic approach that you may ‘undoubtedly’ be analyzing.

If I let my imagination go, and this thing that I write becomes a great literary work, like ‘The Great Gatsby’ or ‘On the Road’, (I wish I knew why those two came to mind first; I haven’t even read them yet!) I can see professors of English Literature all over the world analyzing my use of literary devices and my ‘seemingly’ simple form. They will undoubtedly read this manuscript, front to back, back to front, upstairs, downstairs, on planes, in bathrooms, in bedrooms trying to assess what ‘the writer’ was trying to signify, to imply, to critique, to reiterate, to state, to declare….etc. etc. etc. and how the use of language has helped or hindered the author’s endeavours to convey the intended message.

I would like to declare, as a disclaimer, to all you brilliant minds and scholarly folk who may have picked this up by happenstance, that any ‘form’ that I have ‘adopted’ in the writing of this piece and any ‘literary devices’ that you may have found thus far ‘illustrated in the text’, are purely coincidental, if not totally accidental. So spare yourself the time (although, if you’re reading this, you probably have far too much time on your hands in the first place) in carrying out a thorough analysis, because I am telling you straight off (and I’ve been honest since the beginning) that I have no idea what I’m writing. In fact, I don’t even know why I’m writing.

If I bring my big ol’ Hobbit=feet back to earth, I’m not really certain what the chances are that anyone, other than me, will read these pointless entries if their bottoms aren’t firmly seated on a toilet.

Point made. I shall move on.

*****

I haven’t moved on. I still open this document up, reread what I’ve written, make slight amendments here and there and then click the red ‘X’ on the top right-hand corner of my screen.

The itch in my brain persists. No amount of literary stimulation or contemplative assessment can soothe or appease the pesky, compulsive need to put words down on paper in some coherent fashion.

It is most troublesome. Maybe a chocolate bar will help with this elusive stimulation.

(END OF PART ONE)


Todays Events