You may have noticed the frequency of my output has dropped slightly plummeted drastically? Without a doubt, this is the longest case of writer’s block I’ve ever had. Aside from neglecting my personal blog, I can’t pen my local humor column assignments, I can’t do freelance work for clients, I can’t continue another novel I’ve been excited about, I can’t journal, I can’t type a creative email to someone I really adore, nor a birthday card, nor create an excuse note for my child to get out of P.E. class — I cannot even make a grocery list.
Regarding that last one, I literally sat and asked myself, “What’s another way of saying “Buy milk?” It took me a really long time to come up with, “Obtain pasteurized, homogenized cow’s juice.” And then I got grossed out and crossed it off my list.
Through it all, well-meaning family and friends aggravate me beyond belief with the things they say to me. So, I’ve compiled a few. Ready?
NEVER OFFER THESE 16 SOLUTIONS….
“Just write about _________.” And then blurt out the first random inane word that pops into your head. Like . . . “Winklepickers!” or “Agastopia!” or “Tittynope!” (By the way, all legit words that I verified with Webster instead of writing.)
“Anything you write will be brilliant.” (Thanks Grandma, but now you’ve just ratcheted up expectations, so you may as well just cue my nervous breakdown.)
“Who can think with so much hair on their head? What you need is a sweet little pixie cut like I gave you when you were five, so I can see those pretty eyes and your thoughts will be able to flow more freely.” (Nice try, Mom.)
“Good sex has been preventing Writer’s Block for decades.” (Even though this totally won’t work, you may not care if the suggester is really good looking.)
“Ran out of material, did ya? I’m free to go to coffee and you can interview me.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re overestimating the consequences of this issue. Who actually reads what you write anyhow?” (I immediately introduced this individual to my Grandma.)
“All the greats were rejected before they had bestsellers. Google Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind.” (Okay, what? You’re not even listening to me. You have to write something before it can be rejected. I. Cannot. Write. A. Thing.)
“Take a hot bath.” (This same advice also came from this person after my marriage fell apart, after I cracked a rib, when I mentioned I wanted to eat a bunch of chocolate, when my dad passed away, when my house had a mold infestation, and when I’d get a HOT flash.)
“C’mon, whadya working on? How difficult can it be? I’ll write it for you lickety-split.”
“Here’s my theory. Your muse was abducted. She got into a car she thought was her Uber driver and was sold as a sex slave, but then a pregnant psychic in Rhode Island was tracking her down using a secret code from her unborn baby’s kicks but yesterday the child entered this world and now you’ll just have to wait until she learns to talk.” (This person just called, thanking me for sharing the fact I have writer’s block, because THEY now have a three-book contract.)
“Writer’s Block….pfffffft! There’s no such thing. It’s just something you made up in your head, dearie.” (I cannot make anything up in my head— hence my problem.)
“So then just start in the middle.” (This wise guy used to tell me to start at the end and work backwards, but I slapped him.)
“Try my clever new writing prompt …. Satan has instructed his incompetent younger brother, Stan, to open a milder version of Hell known as Heck. How does one end up there, and what punishments does Stan devise?” (Aw, just go straight to Hick, which is my version of heck for country bumpkins.)
“Read books by Jane Austen. That always helped my Aunt Fran when she had any kind of feminine problem.”
“Just get rid of your inner critic.” (Yes, thank you. I’ll order her an Uber ride to Rhode Island)
“Why don’t you just write about having Writer’s Block.” (Seriously?? I’d sooner die and go to Huck, which is yet another version of heck, created by Tom Sawyer’s best buddy. Hey! I think I may be onto a new blog very soon.)
—Stephanie D. Lewis
Stephanie D. Lewis regularly contributes to Huffington Post as well as pens a humor blog, “Once Upon Your Prime,” where she tries to “Live Happily Ever Laughter.” She’s also a regular contributor to Jewlarious where she writes zany Jewish humor and was named one of 2014 Voices of the Year by Blogher. Her 2008 book, Lullabies & Alibis, is the tale of marriage, motherhood, mistakes and madness. As a single mother of six, she knows a lot about the madness. She’s supervised potty training and driver’s training simultaneously. Too many accidents. A live-in housekeeper? Nah, she’ll take a live-in psychotherapist.