Writer’s Constipation

For anyone who was following my old blog, you know that I committed to chronicling my writing progress, documenting the triumphs and tragedies. I made a glorious plan, set up a schedule, publicly announced it and immediately failed at it. It was the end of the semester…what was I thinking?

And then I contracted something that seems much worse than writer’s block. It was more like writer’s amnesia, with a twist of failing confidence topped with a complete lack of focus. I couldn’t figure out how to proceed with my book proposal because I didn’t know what one should look like. I would stare at the short one I had written to show to a publisher and freeze, unable to change any of the words or add new ones. It wasn’t that I loved what I had written, but rather that I couldn’t figure out what any of it meant or where I needed to go with it. I would develop severe brain cramps thinking about the whole thing, writhe in mental agony at my desk, and pray for relief. Hence the reason I call it writer’s constipation.

I broke through the log jam long enough to produce a version that my writing buddy read. He suggested that I should change my approach (coincidentally back to my original idea from which I had strayed when I couldn’t figure out how to make it work). I agreed with him and immediately got stuck again, cramped, writhing, and yelling at the writing gods.

Then a very generous colleague allowed me to read a book proposal she had written and it was like a light bulb went off. I began ripping, tearing, rearranging, borrowing from my dissertation, a conference paper I had written, my presentation from defense, and any other scrap of writing I had.

In the midst of this flurry of activity, the publisher (whom I had not heard from since our meeting in Boston back in February) emailed and said they are definitely interested and that I should deliver the proposal and several chapters as soon as possible. Another publisher contacted me out of the blue to inquire about the possibility of publishing it (obviously turning that one down). Today I got the go ahead to write a review for a journal on something related to my new media interests (oops, forgot about that one). I need to develop the oppositie of writer’s constipation for the remainder of this summer. Writer’s diarrhea?

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