NEW CASTLE —
It's 11:19 p.m. on Wednesday night. I sit staring at my computer's screen, avoiding the temptation to click on the ever-inviting Facebook icon in my toolbar or poke around on YouTube for countless hours while my writing deadline looms in front of me.
My pieces are due on Thursday, and here I sit, empty handed, squandering my time. Tick, tick, tick. I can hear the moments slipping away.
It is now 11:25 and I have to be awake at 6:40 a.m. to drop my daughter off at my parents' house and share a ride to work with my wife. My mind is wandering. How tired will I be tomorrow? What should I have for lunch? Stop it, I tell myself. Focus! Tick, Tick, Tick ... 11:38.
OK, I'm in the zone. Everybody has gone to bed, headphones are filled with inspirational mood music. Oh, wait, what was that one CD I wanted to download? Off to the ’Net I go. Got it! Downloaded, tracked, and loaded in my audio player.
OK, let's do this. Tick, tick, tick ... 11:57.
Ouch, that was dumb. Why did I waste all that time getting that CD when I should have been working on my blog? I'm such a procrastinator. I gotta stop that.
What can I write about? I am always full of ideas and inspiration. I have been asked over and over again, “Where do you come up with this stuff?”
I don’t know. Ideas just fall out of my head. I actually have a list of ideas I keep on hand. Right now I have about 60 or so ideas on the list. Some good, some not so good, but not one of them have reached up and pressed my inspiration button tonight.
Maybe I should just randomly pick one and start writing. I could use the story about how I was asked by a college professor not to return to her class and she would give me an A simply because I challenged her concepts and design ideas. It was at an art school, after all.
No, that won't work. It's too short of a story, and besides, the dean put a stop to it.
How about the summers I spent as a youth counselor at a couple of different church camps? I'll have to change all the names around and locations, too, so I don’t identify anyone. That’s gonna take too long. Oh my, hear that? Tick, tick, tick ... 12:14 a.m.
There was the time I got bit by a goose, or the time I fell in the mud when I was a kid and my parents made me sit in the car in just my underwear while they went into a restaurant because my clothes were filthy. Then there is the possibility of telling the tale of how my brother ate d-Con rat poison because he thought it was Pop Rocks. No, he'll kill me for even mentioning that.
Maybe I can tell about how I got lost in Kmart when I was 4 years old and the people who worked there couldn't understand me saying my name. They thought I was saying sauce, not Josh. Who would name their kid sauce? Really?
I also could talk about how my dad pulled me away from a swarm of bees who were attacking me simply because I was standing on their underground hive. I got stung about 70 times that day. Stupid bees!
Grrr. It's 12:29. Tick, tick, tick ...
I have never hit a wall like this before. I guess this is what those real writers would call a dry spell or writer's block. Honestly, I feel more like a blockhead not being able to string a handful of provocative words together. Something to tantalize and hold your interest for 500-750 words.
I have a tale about stumbling onto a church full of clowns, one about a friend buying 40 pounds of bananas for $2. I could tell you how my aunt Kathy use to tell us kids that they made Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum out of spider eggs or how I broke my foot on a hayride.
Wow, this CD is not very good. What a waste of time. I really should have spent that time working on my blog.
Tick, tick, tick ... 12:44
I should not have spent all this time pondering these different stories. I should have just stuck my nose to the grindstone and before I knew it, a piece would have developed. I would be editing and spell checking right now. The idea would have come and flowed onto the page, much like the preceding 767 words ... Wait what just happened there?
Tick, tick, tick ... 12:56
File, Save As “blockhead_wanna-be_writer_fights_writers_block.doc.”
Open e-mail, compose new message, attach file, send, and done.
Tick, tick, tick ... 12:59