So lately I have had a bad case of writer’s block, and thus have decided that I need to start literally vomiting onto my keyboard and posting it. As the ghostly forms of my countless, first 3 pages-filled- notebooks in my room continue to haunt my head full of ideas, I realize that no matter what, I must write. And if that means writing hypothetically and hyperbolically about why I can’t be a writer, then so be it. I’d rather re-sign my self to that fate than the unsung one that happily greets countless generations of those self-defeating lazybums who might have been contenders, had they just sat down and written anything, every so often. So to combat the demons of self-criticism and anxiety, I have enacted an exercise in “Why Not?”
REASONS WHY I CAN’T BE A WRITER WITH A COOL BLOG AND SEVERAL AWARD WINNING NOVELS:
1) My macbook isn’t the latest edition.
2) the disc drive doesn’t work.
3) I don’t feel the creative atmosphere seeping through my cerebral cortex. I have to be in the right pensive mood.
4) There’s too many distracting books and wonderful pictures at Barnes and Noble.
5) There aren’t enough distractions at the coffee shop.
6) There just isn’t the right, pervasive literary atmosphere at the coffee shop.
7) My room is too silent.
8) Words in songs interrupt my thought process.
9) Classical music only makes me lonely.
10) I don’t have enough time.
11) If I don’t handwrite everything, it won’t look Tumblr legitimate.
12) I don’t have a typewriter.
13) This prose won’t compare to Kerouac or Wharton or de Beauvoir.
14) Everything I write needs to be edited.
15) I hate multiple drafts.
16) My name doesn’t sound writerly enough.
17) Anything I write will just be a cheap trick compared to the greats (insert names here____)
18) I need to smoke, pensively, with my legs crossed and a really haughty, yet internalized look on my face while I extend elegantly slender fingers to make keyboard magic. My fingers aren’t the right shape for that. Maybe I need nail polish first.
19) Writing would mean being responsible for a piece that I will then feel unsatisfied by until I come back to it weeks later and which I will then hate. I don’t want to burden my conscience with that.
20) Nothing ever comes out right, which is especially annoying when I can feel how I want it to feel and look but cannot get from points A to Z instantaneously.
21) It all will just be sucked from my brain into the ethers of my computer, where doubtless, it will fall into some miscellaneous section of my digital collections where I will forget about it and because, due to technology and the way things are no longer materialized in the same way, no one will probably even read it even if I died because my hardrive will most likely fail before then, or get ruined in a fire, or be stolen by a ring of pillowcase thieves, or be submerged in some freak flood that only goes through my room of the house. And I can’t have that on my conscience.
22) Flights of fantasy are easy as shit, but stringing along a plot from beginning to end is like pulling one’s own wisdom teeth out with a piece of floss and a door handle.
23) It’s doubtless all been written before.
24) Making a commitment to writing every day would doubtless mean—has meant—letting myself down all over again, every day. Holding myself to that commitment would mean, like, following a routine, which would mean words like “method,” and “habit,” and “ritual” and “regular” and “serious” and “realistic” and “disciplined” and those aren’t really in my vocabulary: they taste funny in my mouth and don’t look right on my skin when I look in the mirror and see my body parts as words. And it would mean missing those moments that one misses when one isn’t paying attention to everything else around one’s self, rather than taking time to be productively internalized. And doesn’t that mean being self-centered? I don’t want to be one of those egotistical pricks who looks like they think the only important thing going on is their own life. And wouldn’t I miss out on all those random little moments that come of being spontaneous? And what if, at the end of all that, all that B+ blood, sweat (from being in the Florida sun for five minutes) and tears (ok, I don’t really cry much anymore so that usually converts instead to grimaces and furrowed brows) what I produce really is absolute shit? It’s not like I will be able to quantify and justify that time at least with a regular paycheck like I can right now with my menial labor service industry job. Having to keep those checks in my balances in my head until the day when they pay off in real life publication form might give me almost as much of a headache as the one I get every day now if I drink less than a medium coffee before 9:30 AM. God forbid I agonize over something that could be as worthy of my worry as a future career.
Guess it’s time to go back to those mental gymnastics I was doing over all the body dysmorphic vaults I set up in my head anew every day, and refueling those minute anxieties I have about over-charging people and accidentally poisoning them with either my exposed skin molecules when I wrap up a brownie for them, or with the plastic gloves I wear while getting paid $8 an hour to make multiple $7.41 juices in the space of ten minutes.
Yeah that math definitely checks out and adds up to success. Keep doing what you’re doing, Sandy. But please, write it down—the most value any of this will have will be for the stories, I can guarantee you that.