This isn’t a Writer’s Block, it’s a Writer’s Fortress covered in barbed wire and turrets with missile launchers. And it’s on the other side of a moat. And a desert. And a minefield.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Last Wednesday–the day before my 30th birthday–I opened up my current writing project to find 3 pages missing. 3 pages. 3 pages that took nearly 6 hours to write. Nothing crucial, or so I thought.
The pages hadn’t saved, even though I saved and double-saved them. Not only were they gone, but it’s like they never existed. My computer claimed I hadn’t touched the file for days, which I knew to be untrue.
I know I wrote those pages. But, apparently, I have no way to prove it.
Whatever, I told myself. I’ll deal with it after I’m 30. I moved on with my day, partied hardy for my b-day, read, watched The Office, did everything to clear my head and get positive. Come back to the whole thing with a fresh outlook.
I have been trying to ‘deal with it’ for 3 days now. I have rewritten and re-rewritten this scene and it’s not coming out the way it was. Which I thought I could accept. Everybody remembers that moment in college when they didn’t save an essay and had to rewrite it on the fly. Somehow it always came out shorter, didn’t it? Just a paraphrase of all those great ideas you had in the original, just enough to get it turned in on time.
Like I said, I thought I could accept that. I told myself a billion times it’s never going to be the same.
I never thought it would completely derail me like this.
I go to the coffee shop and stare at an empty word document for an hour before going home. In the morning, I lay in bed and replay the sentences, the turns of phrase, in my head. I have all the pieces, I just for the life of me can’t remember how the puzzle goes together.
It’s heartbreaking. I feel like I had this really delicate ornament, one of a kind, and I dropped it from the Space Needle. And now I need to replace it before I can move on with my writing career.
I realize I sound like the world’s biggest diapey baby. It’s just a scene. It’s three f**king pages. Get it together. But it starts to get existential. This isn’t the first time this has happened. I seem to lose a crucial chunk of every story I get really into. The thing that keeps me up at night is it a ‘higher power’ issue–something cosmic or fated that says I can’t finish a book? Or is it worse? Is my subconscious keeping me from succeeding? Deep down do I want to be a failure for the rest of my life so my goddamn hand didn’t click save?
Am I not meant to be a writer?
It’s scary where the mind goes. The leaps it takes. But this is where I’m at. The characters sicken me, the plot makes me roll my eyes. I…I just don’t care all of a sudden. And I want to. I want desperately to want to give a shit again. I pray every night that I’ll wake up so motivated that a tank couldn’t stop me from writing. But it certainly hasn’t happened the last few days. I wrote 3 paragraphs in 3 days, and deleted the whole thing. I moved onto the next chapter and got 3 sentences deep before writing this blog.
How? How do I beat this? Keep writing, keep writing, keep writing–that’s the usual equation. Keep at’er and eventually the training wheels will fly off and you’ll just be pedaling on your own. But everyday it just feels so forced. Like I’m writing with a pen that’s out of ink, but I still need to make the words show up.
Have I forgotten how to ride the bike?
This is how it goes, right? Irony. I have all the time in the world to write right now. I’m on Day 3 of a 4-day break from work, something I’ve begged the Universe for. I was going to get so much done. I have 3 f**king sentences. Pretty soon I’ll be back to work
5 6 7 8 days a week and I’ll have all these great ideas and no time. It’s a cruel joke, man.
Or is it a sign to give up?