Friday, December 9, 2016

Writer's block and sleepless nights

I find it interesting that I can whip up a reasonably intelligible - and sometimes even witty - blog post in less than 30 minutes, but I can't seem to write a Kindergarten-level sentence having anything to do with my dissertation. Or the journal article I should be writing right now, and honestly, that should've been finished quite a while ago.

Why is that?

I've been working on the Word document for weeks with not much to show for it. I toggle over to it every day and my mind instantly goes completely blank, except for a general sense of terror and certain doom. This feels so uncomfortable to me that I will literally do anything - anything - to escape it.

The trash needs taking out you say? I would be happy to do that in the freezing cold! Wind chill? What wind chill?? Oh darn, I dropped some crumbs on the kitchen floor. Let me just get a bucket of hot soapy water and a scrub brush and spend the next several hours on my hands and knees scouring the linoleum. What better way to spend a Friday night? Why just run a load of whites through the washer when you could be IRONING ALL OF YOUR KITCHEN TOWELS??? No, seriously, I really do this. Actually, I do all of those things.

And if those things fail, my brain makes sure to remind me how much writing this paper is going to suck and that I should've done it by now. And WHY ISN'T IT DONE YET?? Which is fine, but not at 3:00 in the morning (okay, it's not really fine). The panic comes complete with that shot of adrenaline you feel in your stomach, which tells you that you're done sleeping for the night. I can get by on three hours of sleep every night, right? Trump does it and he's a perfectly balanced, reasonable, and tremendously calm individual. Oh, he's not? Well, shit.

And everything needs to be done right this second. Chop chop! No time to waste sitting on your ass just working on the most important assignment of your entire life to date! Oy vey.

I've been told - often, repeatedly, and by many people who are often repeatedly telling me - that I need to just let go and write down any piece of garbage that floats into my head. Just. Write. Down. Something. If you've written something, no matter how shitty, it can be edited and made better. If you've written nothing, well, what's there to edit? Yeah, I get that. I KNOW this. Really, I do. How do I make myself do it??

I think the answer might be to just fucking do it already. Take a deep breath or two, grab a cider, stop dicking around with this blog post, and start writing. Just. Write. Down. Something...