I don’t know how to write today.
I did yesterday.
Yesterday I wrote a 1,600-word post on blogging in under three hours. The day before that, I churned out 1,400 words with no problem.
Today I don’t know what I’m doing.
I have a long list of ideas, but they may as well be written in a foreign language. I can’t figure out how to approach them, let alone craft an entire article around one of them.
My fiction writing isn’t going all that well, either. I used a sentence from The First Line literary journal as a prompt and started a new short story…which after 20 minutes was still only about 200 words long. I have the story in my head. I know what I want to say. I just don’t know how to say it.
It’s fascinating (in a “this really sucks” kind of way) that my writing practice can go from great to awful in such a short span of time. This kind of thing doesn’t seem to happen in other fields. I mean, accountants don’t go to work and suddenly forget how to do math. You never hear about chefs having “Cooker’s Block” or retailers losing the ability to operate a cash register.
How is it possible, then, that I can suddenly lose the ability to craft a coherent sentence?
Furthermore, my brain doesn’t seem to want to settle long enough to get the words down. I have this persistent feeling that I should be doing something else. I feel, for lack of a better word, twitchy. I need to throw the laundry in the dryer. I have to plan my son’s birthday party. I gotta pack for our family vacation. And I really, really, really want to read that Nora Ephron book I picked up. (Maybe it’ll inspire me!)
But then, as I mull over this list of “needs, have to’s, gottas, and wants” – things I could do instead of writing – my brain reminds me: Nora Ephron didn’t get to be Nora Ephron by doing the laundry, planning the party, packing the suitcase, or reading other writers’ work. She did it by writing. Her output was enormous. To my left sits a book, The MOST of Nora Ephron, which holds more than 500 pages of her essays, articles, blog posts, fiction, and screenplays. The woman was constantly producing work.
It probably didn’t come easily. Maybe she, too, had days when the words just wouldn’t come. Maybe she even had days when she felt the urge to do other things. Who knows, maybe she did actually forgo writing in order to launder, plan, pack, and read. Maybe that was part of her process.
I dunno. Right now, I’m frustrated. My ideas aren’t gelling. My work isn’t coming together. I feel unorganized. My brain is cluttered; it’s pulling me in too many directions.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll luck out and any semblance of talent that I hold will return.
But today…well, today I just don’t know how to write.