Friday, March 9, 2012


Nicholas Cage in Adaptation
I ran across a blog entry by author Neil Gaiman the other day that addressed writer’s block. He reckons it’s a combination of laziness and perfectionism. It does makes sense, but I am not sure it always applies to me. I can be lazy, but I’m sitting here writing, aren’t I? Also, I think we can all agree, that there are no grounds on which to base any kind of assumption that I am perfect or could produce a perfect piece of writing – not even close.

Emma Thompson hired a writing
coach to break her writer's block
Stranger Than Fiction
That’s the fun thing about blogs. They may be up there for you to read at any time, they probably won’t hold your interest for long, and you probably have a bunch of other blogs to read, Angry Birds to play, and real life stuff to do. So while I may sometimes address serious topics like life and love and grace and God, I also mention popular songs, reference obscure movies, and sometimes say bad words. I’m not writing an encyclopedia or philosophical treatise here, people.

No, I don’t think perfectionism is a problem for me. Maybe at one time, but now - not so much. I think that my honest problem is that my mind is totally blank. Blankety-blank-blank. (Yes, I’m aware that “blankety-blank-blank” is also used to connote swearing...) It happens to me enough that this is not my first or even second post about writer’s block. You know what’s a famous movie about writer’s block? Adaptation. It’s about a writer who is supposed to adapt an unadaptable book into a screen play. His brain starts to wander all over the place, hilarious hijinks ensue and in the end the viewer is not quite sure what really happened and what was in the writer’s mind. Call me crazy, but the fact that the actual author of the movie, Charlie Kaufman, named the main character Charlie Kaufman leads me to believe that writer’s block was something Mr. K is intimately acquainted with.

Did James Joyce drink to cure writer's block?
That’s why I’m taking a leaf from his book: when you have writer’s block, write about writer’s block. Another movie about writer’s block: Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson. In this story, Thompson plays an author who is seriously blocked until she starts writing a character who she believes to be, well, just a character. BUT he’s actually a person - played by Ferrell, of course – and he can hear her in his head narrating his mundane life! So if I’m to take a lesson from this film, I just need to start writing about something that’s real and the words will flow. Well... since I mainly write from my own point of view... and I am being as real as I know how, I’m not sure that’s relevent.

A Guinness probably wouldn't
help, but it sure would be tasty.
Maybe I just need to work on my reality. But, honestly, that sounds kind of tiring! In that case, maybe all I need is a good night’s sleep! I’ve heard that a lot of famous writers drink (or drank) - like James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway and countless others. Maybe that’s a direction I could go in...?! I kid... but seriously, it IS Friday, and it IS after 5pm... perhaps a Guinness would lubricate my brain... I’ll be right back... On second thought, that’s all you’re getting from me today. Have a nice weekend!

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