Blocked!

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I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again… Writer’s block sucks.

I probably shouldn’t complain considering it’s been a while since my last bout with block. In fact, I started this blog to combat writer’s block but then haven’t had it since. Maybe the blog is more effective than I’d imagined.

Or maybe writer’s block doesn’t just happen. Maybe something or multiple somethings cause it. Not quite as obvious as a cold sore or a bad case of the runs, maybe the culprit is not something as simple as a kiss or a day-old bean burrito. But something had to happen to activate the block.

If I can figure out exactly what triggered this particular block, will I have a better chance of defeating it? Or possibly avoiding it next time?

I don’t know.

But not-knowing has never stopped me from obsessing. Instead, it brings out my super obsessive control freaky side. Ha! I bet you didn’t even know I had a freaky side. Well I do. And that side of me will happily accept responsibility for my own writer’s block (and pretty much anything else for that matter) if it means I can control it, overcome it, accomplish it, destroy it!!

OK… So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I somehow unintentionally caused my own block. Perhaps I did something or simply adjusted my routine and, in doing so, possibly sparked the block through a series of fortunate and unfortunate events. Several things have recently transpired. It would be hard to pinpoint just one thing. And I refuse to bore or horrify you with all of it. Besides, I need to save some of it for future blogs.

But I’ll share one biggie from each side of the spectrum…

On the fortunate side, I had family in town last week. Yep, the Zanes invaded Iowa. My mom, dad and brother flew in from Philly for 8 days of family, fun and (for them) extreme culture shock. We had a great time celebrating my daughter’s 2nd birthday, discovering new things in Iowa together and hanging out. Having a houseful of people was stressful at times but mostly it was fun.

But while they were here I didn’t write (almost) at all. I took a mental vacay. While my husband swears I needed it, I’m not 100% sure. But I definitely needed them here. I’d missed them so much (and now that they’re gone, I miss them more). So if their visit caused part of my block, well then I’ll anxiously look forward to being blocked again in the (hopefully near) future.

On the less fortunate side, an agent rejected me. She did so in the nicest “it’s not you, it’s me” way possible. But still. It’s not that I think I caused the rejection or could have done anything to prevent it. I am simply not the writer she wanted me to be. That’s OK. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad writer. But I may have handled it poorly. I got overly emotional and maybe even a bit depressed. I typically handle rejection better than I am doing right now. The funny (not ha-ha but interesting) part is that I didn’t even really want her. I’m not trying to sound like the bitter x-boyfriend who announces that factoid after being dumped. Really, I’m not. She’s great, amazing actually. I couldn’t and wouldn’t say a bad thing about her. And don’t get me wrong. I would have jumped at the opportunity of being represented by her and I certainly wouldn’t have kicked her out of my proverbial (for lack of a better word) agent-author bed for eating crackers… But she wasn’t (and still isn’t) my first choice.

My first choice agent is still considering me… and my writing samples… hopefully. Well, at least, I have no reason (knock on wood) to think otherwise. I want to believe that she hasn’t secretly stopped considering me. But what if she’s one of those people who break up simply by halting communication? No calls. No texts. No emails. Nothing. Not even a fax. Just the assumption that she fell off the face of the earth. I did that once (not fall off the face of the earth, but break up with someone in that manner… don’t judge me!). This paranoia isn’t helping my blockage. It’s just that, in my humble opinion, she would be my perfect agent. We bonded immediately and had a solid rapport. But I promise not to stalk her (even) if she dumps me (I might cry, but I will not stalk!).

I think I’m just nervous. I’ve gotten myself all worked up worrying that this recent rejection might spark other rejections. I guess I’m concerned that the other agent (let’s call her #42 and not for the reason you might think). So #42 was the first agent who I loved at first chat, who made me laugh, who spoke to my inner nerd, who seemed ~ and still seems ~ so perfect and who I met at the same conference as the agent who sent me the Dear John letter. What if #42 feels the same way as agento-rejecto? What is she rejects me too?

Well I’ll eventually get over it.

I know it’s not doing me any good to think negatively and worrying never helps either. The only thing that ever helps is action. But what action should I take?

The little fat kid inside of me wants to stuff his face with Cool Ranch Doritos, but that’s not the kind of action that will help. The pissy pissed off angsty teen in me is picking fights. That’s no good… for me or for you. The neurotic workaholic adult in me is running an extra mile on the treadmill and trying to write through the pain. That helps more but I’m still blocked.

What I need is a writing enema or a chunk of writer’s Ex-lax, if only there was such a thing!! One of you good-at-math-and-science types should invent that!

In the meantime, I’ve taken all of my own advice and none of it has helped. I’ve walked away, then came back and tried to restart my engine. I tried to push through it. When that didn’t work, I took a nap. I woke up and meditated. I worked out feverishly. I played with my daughter. We went swimming. I did some yoga. I went for a long walk… then a drive… then went shopping (just groceries, but still). I came back and tried again to write through the pain some more. Nothing. I took a shower (always a good move!), watched some TV (an hour of Judge Judy never hurts… but didn’t help either), cooked dinner for my family (I made a very healthy stuffed peppers that involved an actual recipe!). I ate. I sulked. I’m still blocked. What the $#&!

Ugh! What should I do next?

Seriously, tell me what to do and I’ll do it.

Tonight I’m going to make and then drink a whole pot of coffee (please don’t tell my nephrologist) and write, write, write… well, I guess I’m actually writing right now… hmm… maybe I’m not as blocked as I thought…

OK, gotta go!! See ya later.

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