Self-Imposed Writer's Block
'Oh, woe is me,' to coin a phrase. I've done something horrible to myself. Something so horrid, it's almost unmentionable. The horror being so great it invades my dreams at night, stripping me and making me less then what I was. So, what is it exactly that I've done? I've taken something that I love, that I adored, that I so enjoyed doing and turned it into a chore. I didn't set out to do it; I even had the noblest of intentions. Which makes it all the sadder. I did this to myself, by mistake. And, God only knows how it happened.
I have turned writing of all kinds, but mainly fanfiction into a...oh, do I dare to use the word...I've turned it into a CHORE. And I hate chores. I can't even get the things I need done around the house. There is something about the word, chore. It sounds so mundane, so boring. I used to LIVE to write and was always in a quandary about how to find more time for writing. Then I, in my great wisdom, thought I had hit upon an epiphany. I would 'set aside' time to write. Joy upon joy, I would be able to do this thing that I so love, EVERYDAY. At a set time, everyday, when I was guaranteed at least an hour of peace. I would begin this amazing epiphany of wisdom the very next day.
Oh, the planning that went into this. I got the kids lunch at noon, and began to feel excitement. Knowing that soon they would be finished and I would be closer to my 'allotted time'. While cleaning them up, my soul began whispering, "Soon, soon." During the reading of the story before their nap, my soul began to sing, "It's almost time." I kissed them and held them sweetly, a bit longer than usual, to stave off any of the guilt I knew I was bound to feel for actually doing anything for myself. And then, I tucked them in.
I fairly skipped out of their bedroom, light on my feet and giddy with excitement. I'm sure my soul had to have been glowing. Oh, I was going to write. My 'time' was NOW. I made sure to turn off the phone, put my three favorite CD's on, lit a soothing candle and sat in front of the computer. I was barely able to contain my excitement as I pushed the power button in. Soon the familiar chimes sounded and I was powered up. I clicked on Programs, my fingers tingling in anticipation. Slid the mouse down through the files until I came to Word. I felt an intense rush as I clicked open the story I had been working on. The feeling was akin to sexual arousement. This was it; I was finally going to write in peace. Oh, if you could only see how puffed with pride I was. My idea was so simple. Why hadn't I thought of managing my time before? It was pure genius. I was a genius. All was right with the world. I quickly read over what I had previously written to get the flow going again, poised my fingers on the keyboard and...
NOTHING! All those voices that had so recently been screaming at me to continue their stories were silent. I told myself not to panic. It most likely was the quietness. I was used to working with the kids running around and the TV playing. I turned the music up a bit louder and tried again. Still nothing. I remained calm. I got up from the desk and walked into the kitchen. I made a cup of herbal tea, the kind that reduces stress, and tried again. Still nothing. Ok, maybe I needed some visual. I put my 'Favorite Episodes' tape in and sat back to watch. Nothing happened. Well, ok, something happened when I watched my favorite males run about brandishing swords and behaving manly. It didn't do a thing for my creative juices, but the husband and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves that night.
Day two would be better. I just wasn't used to the quietness while I wrote, I reasoned. Now that I had some time to think about it, I just knew it was a fluke. After all, I had a fantastic dream, in the early morning hours, which really fit with the challenge I was working on. As a matter of fact, that dream tied everything up nicely with my plot. My muses were talking again, and all was well with the world. A few times during the morning I went to write and stopped myself. I was going to wait for my 'allotted time'. I had set a goal and I was damn well going to achieve it. So I thought. The kids and I did the lunch, clean-up, story, hug thing again and I sat before my computer. The candles were lit, the music was on. I had my cup of tea and I was afire with anticipation. My fingers were poised above the keyboard as I called to my muses and...
NOTHING! Ok, I'm just not doing something right. I tried a few more times. Nothing, but nonsense and gibberish. What happened to all the things I had already worked out in my head? I prayed to the muses and nada. I couldn't understand what was happening. After all, the kids were asleep, and not screaming at me to do this and that. The music was soothing. Ah ha, maybe the music was too soothing. I changed the CD's to something more upbeat, something that never failed to inspire me. And... nientè. It was at this thoroughly depressing time that my youngest got up from her nap to use the bathroom. I laid down with her to help her go back to sleep and woke up two hours later. Tomorrow would be different I promised myself.
Tomorrow came and went, along with the next day and the next. I didn't realize what had gone wrong. Had the muses left me entirely? Was I nothing but an empty shell? I cursed them all. Methos, with his sarcasm. Duncan, with his brooding. Joe, with his witty repartee. Amanda, with her coquetishness. Richie, with his, well, with his fine set of buns encased in skintight jeans. Oh, I'm sure he has other redeeming traits, but they, along with the rest of my own characters, had left me. I cursed them. I cried at them. I begged them. And NOT A DAMN THING! I was becoming despondent. I began to question myself. Maybe writing wasn't for me. Maybe I had been fooling myself. And yet, through it all, I never questioned the 'rules' that I had set for myself. Never even thought to think about it. And I should have known, but I wasn't able to think clearly.
I was utterly despondent. Figuring that I had failed, I finally turned off the computer. I rarely looked at it for the next few days. Hell, I could barely get out of bed. My husband and kids didn't understand. They tried to cheer me up and nothing worked. I was doomed. A life without writing, well, it just wasn't a life at all. And of course, being the mellow dramatic soul that I am, it seemed as if the end of the world had appeared. That and all the Poe I had been reading really did a number on my mind. I was just waiting for that walled up black cat to come screaming at me to say I had killed my muses, my soul. Wait, that's Poe talking.
This went on for two whole weeks. My family began to notice. Mom was being entirely too weird. The house was spotless. Hot, four course meals were being served every evening. Breakfasts consisting of bacon and eggs, waffles and sausage began appearing. The clothes were washed without the oldest having to do any reminding. My husband wanted to know who had abducted his wife and where was she being held? There were no arguments over the TV, they didn't watch it. Mom got out all of the creative toys and such, dusted them off and proceeded to spend hours upon hours with them. Drawing and coloring, making play dough, laughing as they colored on the walls. Nothing fazed me anymore; this is what I was meant to do. Motherhood was a joy. But yet, I felt hollow inside.
They all laughed at first and enjoyed this new improved mother, until I got the toothbrush out and cleaned the tile grout at two o'clock in the morning. My husband sat me down and told me how concerned he was and I finally broke down. I told him the whole sordid story between great gulping sobs. When I was done, I waited for him to pronounce what I already knew. My creativity had died. There was nothing left. Nothing for me. I knew I was sounding selfish, but I didn't care.
Imagine my surprise when I felt his shoulders shaking with laughter. I was confused. What was he laughing at? Then I began to fume as his laughter got louder. How dare he laugh at me! Couldn't he see this was close to death for me? I started to say something to him when he spoke. It was so simple what he said. So eloquently put. "Why did you change what worked? Why don't you go back to writing the way you used to? You know you don't do rules well." I was so shocked I could only sit and stare at him. This man that knew me so well, that loved and adored me above all else, had figured out what I couldn't see.
The problem had been in front of me the whole time. In this part of the country we are fond of saying, 'If it had been a snake it would have bit me'. How true that was. Yeah, why couldn't I? What good was managing and planning if nothing came of it? I was indeed blessed that my beloved life-mate had pointed this out to me. He was so right. I threw my arms around him and proceeded to show him my admiration and gratitude for choosing to bless my life with his presence. (In other words, we had hot sex.) After showing him my undying gratitude, I left him asleep on the living room floor, came in to the den and stood in front of the 'demon.'
I knew that I had to conquer this particular demon right away, to prove to myself that it was as my husband said. I fired up the power, sat down, poised my fingers and began typing. OH JOY, UPON JOY! Real words and sentences came. Methosmuse began to taunt me for thinking that I could regulate him to come at a given time. The others chided me quietly, and welcomed me back. I continued typing and creating until dawn was breaking over the horizon. I looked away from the screen to see my husband watching me. He was smiling and nodding his encouragement. I mouthed 'I Love You' to him. He yawned and fell back asleep while I continued to create. Soon the pitter-patter of little feet broke into my concentration. The youngest was up and she had the strangest smile on her face as she watched me. Then saying, "Good morning, Mommy." She toddled into the living room, turned on the TV and sat on her father's back watching cartoons. Ah, life was good once again.