In an odd reading mood

I’m in a mood to read some nonfiction. Not a bit of it, a lot of it, as if the mood itself weren’t odd enough for me. I have some book reviews coming up in the next week for the usual flavor of titles you see on here, and my TBR pile is still a towering mound of interesting look books (thanks Pyr, Tor, and JoFletcher!). Just don’t be surprised to see my commentary and reviews for some unexpected reads.

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

At a deeper level, and giving this some thought, I think part of it has to do with cleansing the palettes – plural. Not just the reading palette, which I’m sure is understandable, but also the writing palette. My lack of writing updates lately, my playing with different writing apps, these are all symptoms of a bigger problem. I won’t label it writer’s block – nothing is preventing me from writing. But I don’t feel inspired to create anything, and when I do, it quickly feels repetitive and derivative.

Don’t worry, it’s a phase, I recognize it as a stage in the process, and this time I’m going  to try a different tactic to combat it.

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This is NOT writer’s block

I don’t have writer’s block.

overcoming writer's block - crumpled paper on ...
Image by photosteve101 via Flickr

There is just a firm, solid wall between me and the words that are building up. Like a dam. A damned dam. I’m just waiting for the first crack in the wall, for the first words to start spilling through. Then maybe I’ll be able to get the rest of the ghost story I started, or the post-Singularity stories that have been festering.

You can tell when there’s a word dam because this blog suffers from my blockage. Days, even weeks, pass without anything meaningful making it to the blog. It isn’t a lack of interesting events or anecdotes in my life. Just a lack of being able to make concrete the words to describe the abstract humor that is life. And if I can’t relate my little stories about life, how can I unclog the words necessary to tell a story?

But its not writer’s block. That’s a mythical thing. Pshaw. Unable to write? I can write!

I just can’t make a story.

Even worse, my usual cures are unavailable. Normally I’d divert myself with a good read – but I’m still on the hunt for a good book to read. Or a movie, or a video game – but the kids have taken over the TV that has the x-box (not that I can get online with that – we had to rewire the house a few weeks ago and now the x-box is out of reach of the internetz) because the roku is on there, so they’re exploring old cartoons and educational television.

I hope your Saturday’s going better. I’d lament to my writing buddies (not quite a formal writing group, but close), except they’re either NanoWriMo’ing or working on their own stuff right now.

Maybe I can find a chisel in the kitchen.

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This writerly craft


I talk about it a lot on this blog. In fact, over the years, this blog has steadily migrated from being about my life, to being a platform to discuss Gentoo, to its recent rebranding as a pulpit where I whine and talk about writing.

Today is no different.

Not for the first time, I idly wonder if there isn’t a little ADD in my life. My attention wanders, and the next thing I know I’ve spent hours obsessively staring at a screen, watching episodes of Lost. Part of it is that between the voluminous amounts of snow, I find myself lacking the motivation to write (not related to the wondering of ADD). I know full well that I should be at a keyboard in my off work times, hacking away at either short stories or the novel (or its outline, which, to be fair, I have written some of). But instead I distract myself. I watch TV shows, play Bayonetta, all displays of no self control and that obviously have no bearing on my completing a story.

But why? Sure, its not surprise there’s a lack of self control in my life (I mean, look at me), but writing’s usually something I have no problem digging into.

Then it strikes me.

Is this…is this writer’s block? I’d always assumed writer’s block was not being able to figure out what words to use next, but could it manifest itself as self-sabotaging your own writing by allowing yourself to be needless distracted?