Life is Sticky. Life is Sweet.

Life is Sticky. Life is Sweet.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

In Which Amy Laments Writer's Block

Writer's block sucks.

Okay, that's an oversimplification.

Writer's block blows.

See 2nd statement.

If I was more eloquent and verbose, I would throw around statements like:

Writer's block is abominable, odious and contemptible. (thank you,

I don't know how many of my massive amounts of readers know, but I write short stories. I always have. Mom says that she can't remember a time that I didn't have a pencil and paper in my hand. If I dig deep enough, I can probably find all my old journals, dating back to elementary school, when I would write pages about ponies and unicorns and princesses and ghosts and knights and so on ad naseum. Back then--even then, I should say--I was insanely dramatic, noting that all my stories were written by Amethyst Kathleen Vanessa Marie DiLonardo (I had about 3 more middle names, but I can't remember them now).

I never had a problem coming up with stories then. Of course, I stuck to what I "knew": princesses and unicorns. It was always some brave princess besting some stupid boy and talking to her unicorn (who could speak too, of course. had you any doubt?) about how stupid boys were and how she was so glad she didn't have to go to school. Look, elementary school was hard: I hadn't grown into my Italian nose yet and Billy Clay (yeah, I name-dropped him) started calling me Gonzo. Unfortunately, the name stuck. And, for that reason, my princess aways had a Irish, turned-up button nose.

When I hit high school, the stories got darker and more angsty. I was in the throes of teenagerhood, where everything is a trauma and life and death hung in the balance of whether Marc Sheehan (yeah, I name-dropped again) would say hi to me in the hallway or not. Princesses were replaced by teenage girls so confident, you'd think she'd never popped a zit during lunch period and watched in horror as it poured blood down her chin as the realization that "Oh, sweet bloody baby Jesus! I have 3 more periods to go!" meant that she had to walk around with a peice of toilet paper stuck to her chin to stop the flow.

But then sometime after high school (maybe in the Daria years)
, I stopped writing as much. Who knows why? I suddenly had a life, a boyfriend, and a bf who's idea of fun was driving into NYC for a hot dog from the vendor in front of the Met and then driving home again. Can you blame me for not writing?

I do have a few stories saved on my USB stick. I'll open one up every once and a while and write for hours and hours and hours until I'm exhausted or until my fingers cramp up whichever comes first. Then I won't touch the story again for months (no, seriously, months) because I've exhausted my idea store and everything's out of stock and on back-order.

That was fine when I was "doodling" along on my own, writing for myself and my own sense of humor. But then I was invited to Blog with a Friend (it sounds like a Jennifer Aniston rom-com, doesn't it?) and I was all for it.

"Woo-HOO!!" I thought. "Now I can show everyone how funny I am!"


Most of the time, I find myself staring at the empty blog post page, the stark white blankness of it and blinking cursor just fucking taunting me to write something simple but clever, acerbic but nice, and with depth and meaning. Have you read Cara's posts? Pearls of delightfully storytelling just rolls off her fingertips like . . . pearls (g-d you, writer's block!). And just share with you that I'm not alone in my thinking this, I share this anecdote:

Flinging myself over Mom's picnic table, I moaned, "Cara's posts are so much better than mine. Have you read her new one? About the taking her boys to the water park? I laughed my ass off. I don't even laugh my ass off over my own posts."

Looking up at Mom for some warm, Donna Reed-type encouragement, I was (not-so) shocked to see Mom making the face I like to call the "How the hell do I lie to my daughter about how brilliant of a blogger she is when I don't laugh at her posts nearly as much as I laugh at her friends'?" face. She couldn't even rearrange her features fast enough to cover it up. So I stared in anguish with a dawning understanding that Mom doesn't think I'm the funniest lady next to Tina Fey and she stammered out:

"Well, she's a teacher. She's used to producing more than you are. She's in a different mindset."

Knife, meet back.

(In my defense, I do know how to produce, in my own way. I wrote a 12 page paper on the three types of plague for my A&P class last semester in an hour. So there.)

Surprisingly enough, my next blog post after that conversation (
Damn Right it Was a Good Day) so sparse, limp and pathetic, I could almost call it impotent.

I figured to get some bloggy inspiration, I'd read some blogs written by people I either really like or who I think are really funny. I chose:

Motherhood Uncensored (as the title explains, it's one woman's more than candid examination of her life with a pilot husband and 3-going-on-4 kids)

The Raucous Royals (all about epically naughty royals and the cool shit they didn't teach us in history class)

Wil Wheaton in Exile (written by my first geek crush, Wil Wheaton, it's a daily study of his life as a husband, father, writer, gaming geek, and struggling/working actor)

Trying to Survive (my nearly-bff Sarah's blog on living in MOFN, PA with 3 kids and a near-husband)

So I read. And read. And read. Boy, did it make me depressed. I mean, they were all such good writers.

"C'mon, Aim," I said to myself last night around 2.30 am when I finally finished reading 4 years' worth of archived Wil Wheaton-penned blog entries. "Excluding Sarah, these are all published authors."

And, as a person who's been writing since she could hold a pencil and form complete sentences, that just bummed me out even more.

ps: And just to prove I'm suffering a case of EPIC WRITER'S BLOCK, I walked away from this post to rinse dishes and load Washie for 45 minutes and think of what the hell I was going to write next.


  1. Okay, I teared up a bit. Then I thought " She clearly didn't read my last post". I am flattered none the less. I have writers block every time I post. case in point, there is a 20 day gap between my last two posts. Even worse, it took me two weeks after the event to actually sit down and write it.
    Your busy being a mom, a student and a human being. If you don't write as often as you feel you should, get over it. Blogging isn't a job. There is no deadline and no one to answer to. Except you.

    Ps- My favorite word for my own writing--Flaccid. We're all our own worst critic.

  2. Your vocabulary has always been better than mine. I can't express what I feel or think as well as I'd like to. You, on the other hand, have always been able to say and write what you feel. Just write what you think. Period. Stop trying to entertain everybody. Your thoughts and feelings are entertaining enough, believe me. You don't have to try to impress anybody. Your writer's block is less about having nothing to say, and more about worrying about what people will think about what you have to say. Just write. You may be suprised at the result. I love you. I think you are one of the smartest people I've ever known. Really.
    Love, Mom

  3. Okay. So first off, thanks for the nice things you wrote.

    Let me return the favor without sounding like I'm just saying nice things in order to return the favor. You know what I mean.

    I love your writing. I love your sense of humor. I love how you are honest and real. I love that you are a mom, trying to do the best that you can for your daughter and family.

    All that stuff shines through whatever you write. If you're trying to put tons of effort into being funny and witty, then duh. That comes naturally because it's who you are. Just write. Or don't write. Depending on how you're feeling and what you've got on your plate.

    And quit complimenting me. I've got self-esteem issues myself and it really weirds me out.

    And the Wil Wheaton thing? For the record, that weirds me out too. Just saying.

    Also, it must be said. Billy Clay was uber creepy.

  4. I have no idea where my first post went but it was long and wordy (verbose for you amy). but I just have to agree with Cara, on you, your writing, the Wil Weaton thing, and Billy Clay!!! Love ya!


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