Very sorry, but no fiction again this week. Instead, I offer a spare essay.
There are innumerable resources online and on bookshelves about writer’s block, and I’m not going to weed through them and paste a few here. But like many writers, I have a few theories about writer’s block. It happens when a writer:
1) has nothing to say
2) has something to say but can’t get out of his own way to say it
3) can’t make sense of life for himself and thus has no insights to share with others
4) can’t find a path to being entertaining even without sharing insight.
Today, I can find myself at every station of that cross, despite the first two appearing to be mutually exclusive.
I have nothing to say in that there is no one thing I’m burning to write about. When I do temporarily focus on a topic, then (deftly switching metaphors) I slide into second base and can’t figure out a useful approach. Then I round the corner to third: both the usual and unusual vagaries of mortal existence are whirling around in my head; I haven’t been able to catch one of those moths and pin it to the foamcore. And then I slide into home and am called out: I don’t feel that I can, at present, be entertaining for its own sake. Or maybe I just don’t want to be entertaining with all that other stuff flitting around.
Very likely I could cudgel my brain and force something to present itself, but I don’t want to do that today. I’ve done it before, and you can find those occasions for yourself in the archives. I’ve had three or four ideas for stories in the last few days; the well is not dry. I simply can’t find it within myself to execute at the moment.
What to do when writer’s block hits? My cure is to work on something other than fiction, to let benign neglect recharge my battery, and not worry about it. I know that the condition is temporary, and my writer’s ego fully expects that next week you’ll have some wonderful new piece of fiction to enjoy. (My ego thought that last week, too, but it’s not keeping score. It will eventually be right.)
There is another aspect to this: I’m largely blocked on writing short fiction for Catsignal. I’ve got a much longer piece that’s going well and a couple of others I’m planning, and these are meant for other venues. Writing 200 words can be more difficult than writing 2,000. Landing a useful idea and drawing the net tightly around it for use here is proving quite the challenge.
So that’s me at present, and that’s why you have no story to read. Hit the comments and discuss your trial and tribulations with writer’s block.