Yeah, I know. Physician, heal thyself.
I’ve written about writer’s block many times before. What it is, how to deal with it, how to get over it. I’ve talked about it in class. I’ve helped students with writer’s block.
But for some reason, it’s different when you’re the one that has the problem.
I’m at home right now, at the beginning of summer. Usually this is prime writing time for me. But for some reason, I can’t get past the first chapter of my next book.
As far as I can tell, the writer’s block I am suffering from comes from three problems.
One, there are other things on my mind. Right after graduation, they asked/invited/forced us to move across campus from our usual digs into new digs where everybody else is. I’m finally settled, so I’ll have to take a photo and share with you where I am now. But it’s been a hassle, especially since I moved into an office one-third the size of my old one, and I had to leave a lot of stuff behind. It was a distraction. In addition, there were a lot of projects here at home we wanted to get done before the hot weather set it. I know: excuses, excuses.
Second, my wife is at home. This is the first summer that I have not spent it alone, and it’s an adjustment for me to have someone else in the house. I have this feeling like I need to be with the other person when they are around, and it’s hard to do my own thing. As we get closer to retirement, this is going to become a bigger and bigger problem, and we’ve discussed it, but I don’t have a solution yet.
Finally, the book I am working on, the sequel to Tesla’s Ghost, is daunting. I am struggling to discover how to start it. I have tried several times to start it, but just can’t seem to find how and where and when to get it going. It’s frustrating, and I find myself looking for excuses to do something else rather than just getting it done.
And that’s the rub. Going back to the advice I would give my students, it comes down to giving myself permission to write crappy material. Who cares if it doesn’t make sense, or has holes, or needs loads of fixing later. “We’ll fix it in post-production,” they say in Hollywood.
My old friend Randy Maxwell used to say, “Writers who are going to write will find a way to do it, regardless.” I’ve written 22 books before this, and deep down, I know the problem will get fixed, one way or another.
But right now, it’s very annoying.