Creative blues

My computer screen almost won the staring match today. You know, the match I engage in with it every time I sit down to write. I look at it, and it looks right back at me. We stare down each other. Sometimes for mere seconds. Other times, for hours.

In most cases, I prevail in the end, and get the guilty pleasure of adding yet one more thing on your already overloaded reading list. But today was difficult. Today you almost got off free. The screen nearly won without even putting up a fight.

Because I didn’t even want to open up my computer in the first place. It happens sometimes. That feeling of not wanting to even try. I know it only too well. And if I hadn’t had the commitment I made to write every week this year, I think the screen would have had a walkover today.

But I have that commitment, and since I don’t want to write anything, I figure it isn’t too bad for me to ramble about my present predicament, my total lack of desire for writing, right now. Now, now, don’t be alarmed. As I have said already, it happens sometimes.

It’s not that I don’t have things to write. My brain is brimming with a thousand ideas. The stubs of uncompleted stories, the dismembered middles of senseless epics, and the endings of tales whose beginnings I haven’t seen yet, constantly bounce around inside my head.

Sometimes I pluck these thoughts out of my head and jot them down onto my inspiration list, which list is now rather unwieldy for profusion. Many times, they bounce around until they disappear into the ether, back to the darkness from which they emerged. Not all stories that could be told will be told. There’s only so much that can be written.

So, no, ideas are not the problem. Mood is. The muse sometimes forgets to check in. Or checks in but stays mute. And I find myself in an ugly pocket of time when the drive to write just flags, like a windsock in the still weather after a storm. Those are the periods when I engage in extra-long staring matches with my screen, if I get to turn it on at all.

Creativity is a strange animal. I do not think anyone really knows where it comes from or goes to. It might be different with other creatives, but I find that there is nothing I can do to stimulate it. Absolutely nothing. And no one can prescribe to me a drug that will enhance my creativity.

A hallucinogen, for instance, might open a whole new world to me, filled with strange characters and the stinky old hat of my long-dead thieving grand uncle, but I do not see how it might compel my fingers to fly across my keyboard and populate my insolent screen with the dark crooked lines that we read as sounds and words.

No, that part is often a slog. It’s always an uphill climb. And in those moments when mood fails, when the muse abdicates its responsibilities, even the thought of thinking about thinking about thinking about starting the process proves too daunting.

These periods are horrible for me, to say the least. And they can be crushing too, if no higher obligation calls forth the act itself. It is so easy to give up, however despicable it feels, and so hard to muster the effort to surmount the cruel cold embrace of a creative block.

And so I am grateful that I have a higher obligation, at least with respect to this blog. I made the commitment to post something new every week of this year. It is the only reason I finally wrote that first tentative word, and the last one you will see below.

It is enough reason for me. For now. And so this is my post for this week. Thanks for reading all the way.

Feature image: Photo by Hannah Jacobson on Unsplash.

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