Just beneath the surface of normal

Writing About Not Writing (Gives You a Headache)


Holy crap, you guys. I set myself up to work on my book all day today and I thwarted myself at every single turn. I took a nap, I did some web surfing, I did research into how to submit an article to Cracked (which is a lot harder than you might imagine). But I didn’t even get beyond opening the document in terms of my book.

I know how to do this. It’s not a comedy book, it’s research. It’s journalism. I’ve been doing it for years. Hell, I majored in history; it’s like falling off a fucking log to write like this. My senior research paper was an extra twelve pages long for no good reason.

And yet, every time I sit down I get lost and forty minutes later I’m all, “what was I doing here again?” just like when I walk in the door at Lowe’s. I have run out of Facebook posts to read. And Pinterest. I’m starting to think about browsing Twitter, for fuck’s sake.

I can’t STAND Twitter. I know I’m supposed to need it to pimp my blog so I’m sort of trying to figure it out, but where Facebook seems like a giant cocktail party consisting of everyone you’ve ever known, Twitter is like that scene in The Lonely Guy where it pans out and you see that every roof has someone on it shouting someone’s name into the night. Something like 71% of Tweets go unread. And yet, it’s purported to be this great connector.

When I post to Twitter, it’s probably for one of three reasons: WordPress has posted a new essay for me, I’m yelling at Twitter for doing something annoying, or I am pointlessly replying to a celebrity like some kind of squeeing groupie. Which means Twitter is pretty much nothing but an exercise in embarrassing myself. I figured out in junior high that trying to get the popular kids to notice me was a pointless exercise (except for that one time when I wrote “you’re sucha cow!” in everyone’s yearbook, which I thought was a compliment because I like cows – they’re pretty funny, really, and that’s certainly how I took it when I saw it written in my own yearbook, which was why I was copying it into everyone else’s yearbook that year in the first place). Which is to say I’ve never had much of a clue as to what is cool or will be well-received so why am I here, 25 years later, doing more or less the same damn thing?

Instead I come here and complain to you, because it’s still better than staring up the Matterhorn that is my book, it’s peak obscured by fog and its slopes stalked by vicious man-eating capybaras. Which doesn’t even make sense because the internet says that capybaras are semi-aquatic and not really cut out for mountain climbing. Maybe I don’t mean capybaras? Or maybe the internet is wrong. But it’s such a cute word I can’t stop saying it. Especially because if I do, I might have to write something. Other than “capybara,” I mean.

What is it with writers and avoiding writing? You don’t ever hear an Engineer say, “yeah, I’ve had Engineer’s Block for days, dude. I mean, sure, I sketch on the internet- but I have never fully engineered a thing. I’m an Engineer at heart, thwarted and tortured. But I’ve made three soufflés and cleaned out the linen closet rather than engineer this week.” No, they assault their cardiovascular system with thirty gallons of red-bull-spiked espresso and build a fucking skyscraper to Mars with flying buttresses and a zero-gravity swimming pool on top. So is “writer” just a nice way of saying, “too flaky to even apply for mental health disability”?

You answer. I’m running out for Red Bull.

Wow, thanks, Red Bull. We evidently had really different ideas of how this works. You really shouldn’t have. Really.


UPDATE: I picked a chapter to work on. It wasn’t so bad. Now I have a list of questions to research. One step at a time.


2 thoughts on “Writing About Not Writing (Gives You a Headache)

  1. ‘Engineer’s Block’ hahahaha

  2. The problem really is writing is much too close to daydreaming…

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