You know what I'm talking about. You know, when you want something really bad (or badly), so it seems like everyone else around you has it? For example, you're trying to conceive, so you constantly run into pregnant women or newborn babies (hopefully accompanied by someone else, not just strolling the streets alone... cuz that would be creepy. And dangerous). Or you're living paycheck to paycheck, but everyone around you eats in restaurants every night and drives shiny new cars and totes the latest and greatest tech gadgets? Or all your friends are getting married while you're still searching for any guy or gal who even slightly resembles Mr. or Ms. Could Be Right, If Given a Chance? Or you're so burnt out on everyday life that people can smell your charred attitude from a mile away, but everyone else is posting photos on Facebook from their ocean-view resort balconies? Or--on a related note--it takes every ounce of strength and willpower for you to get out of bed each day and go to your mind-numbing job-that-you're-so-lucky-to-have, but the rest of your friends and family are doing what they love and loving what they do (and are really smug about it)? That's a bad feeling, idn't it?
Everyone else is... [fill in the blank]... so why can't I?
Here's mine lately: Everyone else is writing, so why can't I?
Boo hoo hoo.
The benefit to belonging to so many writers' groups is the camaraderie and support the members of those groups offer. The drawback? Sometimes (um... now), it's torture to hear everyone else talk about how much they're writing and how much fun they're having doing it and how magnificent it makes them feel. It's like being a nun in a room full of newlyweds.
Don't get me wrong; I wouldn't want my writer friends to stop talking about their writing and their successes just because I've hit a dry spell. My dry spell is my issue, not theirs. And it is good to know that some people are still cranking out the words. But dang! It's a nearly constant reminder that I'm not. And that's just not a good feeling.
If this topic seems familiar to this blog, you're not imagining things. When I'm stuck with my fiction writing, I tend to do [a lot] more blogging. And I tend to whine about how I'm writing so many blog posts and not creating fiction. Like this. (Remember the rainbow-farting unicorns?) And... this. Sometimes I have a better attitude about it than other times. And sometimes my inner whip-cracker has to step in and give me an attitude adjustment, which isn't as exciting as it sounds.
And every time I go through this, and inevitably get through to the other side, I say, "Next time, I'm not going to panic. Next time, I'm not going to whine and make a spectacle of myself and draw attention to what always winds up being a temporary issue." But the thing is, while I'm going through it, I'm not all that sure it's temporary. It doesn't feel temporary. It feels endless. It feels like there's no relief in sight. The characters are silent; the ideas are either flat or altogether nonexistent. And it's like a creativity vacuum has taken up residence in my brain. It's just... awful.
You may have heard it said (or maybe you've even said it) that writing is a lonely business. But NOT writing, when you're a writer, is an even lonelier one. First of all, no matter how kind another writer is, he/she doesn't want to listen to someone moan and groan about not writing. That gets old real fast. Plus, it makes the poor writer who's actually accomplishing something feel guilty about his or her progress, and that's no good! On the flip side, if you get too many non-productive writers together, venting about not writing, you have a mass suicide risk on your hands before too long. Things can escalate from "I'm having a hard time finding the words" to "It sure would be nice to use my gas range as a pillow" before you can say "Sylvia Plath." Yes, misery loves company. It loves it too much sometimes. And nobody does "misery" like blocked writers. Yikes.
So I guess I'll continue to make that butt print in my couch ever-wider and resort to drastic measures like spending time with my family while I await the striking of the muse. Thank goodness most of the TV shows I watch are either starting new seasons or are back from their mid-season breaks. Lord help us if I'm still stuck after season finales in May. Oh, my gosh.... I can't even think about that. Netflix, deliver me!
In the meantime, a piece of advice from me to anyone feeling down about anything: DO NOT--I repeat, DO NOT--try to distract yourself by taking psychological tests. Trust the narcissistic, materialistic, image-obsessed, pessimistic, identity-warped, co-dependent blocked writer on that one.