Writer’s Constipation? Try This Laxative.

I know I risk isolating my nonwriter/author peeps with this post, but sometimes I feel moved to do the risky.

Or dumb.

Here I go.

I have a dear friend who is a writer/author (who shall remain nameless to protect her anonymity and our friendship), and she’s struggling right now.

The good news is she is not alone—her struggle is one almost all writers/authors go through at least once in their lives.

She’s afraid to write.

For a writer, that’s the equivalent of not being able to breathe. Or poop.

It’s called writer’s block for a reason.

Whatever you call it, it sucks.

Since she’s far away from me and I can’t physically give her a hug (or a wallop on the top of her head, followed by a hearty Cher-like, “Snap out of it!”), I did the best I could—I gave her a virtual enema…and hopefully a chuckle.

I hope it resonates with you too, especially if you’re a writer.

Or even if you’re not.

Because everybody gets blocked sometimes.

Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney via Compfight cc

Hello there, my dear friend!

Thanks for breaking your social media, monk-like silence to read/comment on my post—I feel very special to be one of the things that brought you back into the light (or rather the dark because social media is as f-cking distracting as driving with a blanket over your head).

You know, your revelation actually surprised me. Not so much that it’s writing you fear—I just automatically assume the majority of writers fear that at some point, even the “professional” ones. It’s amazing we have anything to read. In that world, Amazon would be called “Urine Stream of an 85-Year-Old Man.”

What surprised me was you were brave enough to admit it.

Not that I don’t think you’re brave cuz, uh, motorcycles [her prior passion], but because it takes a lot of guts to say you’re afraid of:

  1. The thing you love and presumably want to do with your life.
  2. Something as safe as picking up a pen and paper, or typing some wittle, wittle wetters on a teeny, weeny keyboard.

I mean, how wack is that? Everyone would understand your unexpected fear of riding because a lot of people would never do what you used to do cuz, uh, motorcycles.

I think of admitting to the fear of writing like a kinky sex addiction or those people who eat weird shit like cigarette ashes and dryer sheets—something best done in private and never spoken of in polite company.

Or, alternately, something that shows up on a reality show on TLC.

And you know what “they” say: Admitting is half the battle. I don’t know what the other half is, but it’s probably not very good, so, sorry.

I think the thing you should remember is you’ve done this once before [wrote a book], which means you have the capacity to do it again. I suppose you could say the same thing about Ted Bundy’s first murder, but you get my point. And to be fair, your writing has never killed anyone, except maybe from belly laughs or drowning in salty tears (been a couple close calls for me, I tell ya).

OK, I’m not helping at all, so I’ll just end by saying you sure as shit can do this again. You’ve spoken the unspeakable, you’ve produced what’s un-producable for a shit-ton of people (shit-ton is a real word…look it up) and you’ve ridden what should be un-ridable cuz, uh, motorcycles.

I’ll end with the words of one of the most inspiring groups of people I’ve ever been told about second hand from this girl I have lunch with every other month or so: Cheerleaders from small, southern, backwoods high schools.

Pork chop, pork chop,
Greazy, greazy,
You can do it,
Easy, peasy.

Now read one more chapter of Paper Towns cuz, uh, John Green…then GET BACK TO WORK!

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So what about you? Have you ever had writer’s block, and what’d you use to clear it? What’s your biggest writing fear? Why do you keep writing, in spite of the fears and/or blockages? If you’re not a writer, what’s your constipation poison—laxatives or enema?

14 thoughts on “Writer’s Constipation? Try This Laxative.

  1. Hi Kelly! I hope your pep talk helps your friend find her groove again. I do two things that keep me writing no matter what. #1 I started a business where I did copy writing for other people. It FORCED me to write on schedule NO MATTER WHAT because I needed the money and I’m the type of person that if I say I’m going to do something I do it. (plus the money was good :-)) I learned through that that I can write no matter what–broken arm, no problem, parents passing away, no problem. It wasn’t easy but I did it. #2 I started doing Julia Cameron’s (The Artist’s Way) Morning Pages about 20 years ago and I still do 3 pages long-hand five days a week. It’s a GREAT practice and will keep just about anyone writing through all sorts of issues. And I’m still here! ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com recently posted…From Blog To Book—The Launch of Simple-SMART & Happy!My Profile

    1. Oh my gosh Kathy, you’re my hero! It would be nearly impossible to get blocked with that writing schedule.

      Blogging twice a week has helped keep me fresh and out of the constipation zone. I’m actually writing more now than I have since college. Not getting paid for it, alas, but that too will come with time.

      You’ve inspired me to do more writing just for myself and not necessarily anything I’d share with anyone else. Thanks so much for reading/commenting.

  2. Hi Kelly, tell our mutual friend that even if she never writes another word for the rest of her life she has done what most of us only dream about (plus she used to ride bad ass bikes). To take a break play with Lucy and it will happen. The more stressed she is the harder it will be! Ask her if she’s read my posts lately she knows it could be alot worse she could write like me. I just read a certain book where I cried for 3, count them 3 days so IT IS IN THERE but trying to force it is like peeing with an audience it just ain’t gonna happen! Please tell her I miss her dearly and can’t wait to hear from her but didn’t want to push. And to this Kelly you are a terrific writer and an even better friend and it just doesn’t get any better than that! PS. Tell her I’m still getting my ass kicked by WordPress!
    Rena McDaniel-The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver recently posted…MOM’S GREAT ESCAPEMy Profile

    1. Thanks Rena, for reading and commenting, and your thoughts!

      I can so relate to “peeing with an audience”—literally and figuratively. Not possible!

      I will certainly pass on your thoughts to our mutual friend—she’s still out there, plugging along, and I’ll be sure to tell to read through your stuff…she needs all the encouragement she can get.

      Take care, and death to WordPress demons!

  3. Writer’s block for me is usually a sign I need to do something else for a while to rest and rejuvenate my creative spirit. Even if it’s just organizing closets. Which I hate to do. Struggling along never works for me. Sometimes a week off –no guilt–gives me perspective.
    Carol Cassara recently posted…Do-it-yourself mediumshipMy Profile

    1. That is so true Carol, and such a catch-22. There’s this little part of me that says, “If you step away from this now, even for a little bit, you’re giving up.” But it’s usually the smartest move I can make.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Breaking the monk-like silence again to thank you, Kel. And you too, Rena!

    You’ll be happy to know I’m also breaking through the fear-wall and making some progress, slowly but slowly. Will keep you posted. Thanks again for the virtual enema. 😉 I really do appreciate your support. Means a lot, my friend. 🙂
    Kelly Byrne recently posted…Now THIS Is How To Pay It ForwardMy Profile

  5. Haha what a brilliant pep-talk 🙂

    Sometimes I do need to bang my head on the desk / run around like crazy before I can sit down and actually get stuff out. I’m mid-rewrites at the moment and there are definitely days they psych me out!
    saralitchfield recently posted…A River Runs Through ItMy Profile

  6. Love the pork chop cheer! The only cheer I remember is one that my mom said the cheerleaders did in her school back in the day: Ungawa, ungawa, your Momma needs a showah! Catchy. 🙂 Best of writing mojo to your friend – I’m rockin’ in that same boat right now and it’s sucksville.

    1. I know, isn’t it great?! I’ve never heard the one you mention—cheers are obviously regional 🙂

      Can you imagine how rich we’d be if we could come up with a real cure for the block?

      Thanks for reading Kristen!

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