On Writing and Related Demons

I do have stories. Seriously, lots of them, going round inside my head, amusing me no end and making me hop and skip back from my day job ready to pour them out for your amusement. Punchlines and witty gags literally swirl around until it’s finally the time to sit down at the computer and… stare at the blank page. I have an emergency cigarette. Writers smoke. 

I return to my computer and quickly do a little inspirational check on the internet for, generally, at lest an hour an a half. I read somewhere that you have to switch off social media, background music and other distractions and just write. Just let it flow. Do the fact-checking and such later. I switch off and sit in silence.

Nothing comes. 

Surely a little snack will get the juices flowing? I hoover the contents of my fridge and continue to sit in silence, munching on stale cheese, anxious and desperate. 

Then I go back to my stack that I keep for desperate situations like this. I reach for Dani Shapiro’s “Still Writing”, read a few chapters and am reminded again that it’s supposed to feel like that. I cannot recommend that gem of a book strongly enough. Another one I like for moments of despair is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. It’s not brimming with actual, concrete advise like Shapiro’s book, but it’s very useful in a slightly more new age-y way. Also, I read it on a holiday in Mexico. The casual mention of that seems to make any book look very good. (Though Gilbert is very good.)

Writing is hard. But it seems I’m in good company, as I could possibly fill this blog for years to come with just quotes by great literary minds on how hard writing is. I will not do that, though. Just that you know what not to expect.

Speaking of stacks of books, there is a sponsored Facebook post making rounds about a stack of corporate self-help books that every actual or aspiring CEO  just has to read. There is an accompanying text saying how an average CEO reads at least 60 books in a year, and if you are ever to become anything you have to reach for the stack of 30-odd self-help guides for big bosses. I clicked open the post. Every book that was recommended was written by a man. Go have a look yourself here: www.mentorbox.com/learnmore 

On a non-writers-block note, I’m doing a shit job in keeping up with Sober October. Not to say I’m drunk 24/7, but at a crucial moment I tend to forget to pass the lukewarm cava. Which is just about the most desperate thing anyway, but really I’m useless at this. Will give this another try in January. Or something.

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