I am the writer who doesn’t write.
Imagine that. All this time…. “oh he’s a writer.” What have I written? Nothing. If a sound in the woods is never made, will there be anything to hear? Probably not. All this time of not writing has convinced me that I’m a writer with writer’s block. But it’s not like I’m some successful author who one day sits at the computer and freezes up. Sure I wrote lots of articles in high school and college, but I’ve never written a book.
I don’t even keep a journal. So how can I have writer’s block? Do illiterates or others who have no desire/skill to write walk around saying “I have writer’s block”?? I doubt it. But supposedly I’m a “writer” and others think of me as one, so since I’m not writing I must have writer’s block. That’s it.
Such a talented non-writing writer like myself. I can hide behind that sly smirky smile of writer’s block while acting like I’m hiding The Great American Novel behind these teeth. Like anytime I finally want to I could unleash a “work” that would hush my own inner critic and announce to the world: See I Really I Am A Writer! Well, you thought I was the whole time, but I never knew I was. All that time, this is what I wasn’t working on.
Hiding the implied great book-yet-written is almost like having a best seller. The unwritten book doesn’t get any bad reviews. The unwritten book might be the Next Great American Novel. As romantic as a song not yet written. Places we’ve never been. Made up people we’d never meet. Even if they were real. The unwritten book is mysterious. More secretive and unpredictable than the thrillers that were written. This one has no beginning, no end. No plot.
An unwritten masterpiece has as much, if not more, allure and appeal than an actual masterpiece. Endless possibilities. Any way to fulfill it’s destiny to being a great book.
The unwritten book is akin to its cousin the unwritten rule. The unwritten rule just reeks of honor. It’s a code. There are lots of unwritten rules for many situations. I’d give examples but wouldn’t want to get mixed up in the oxymoronic world of trying to explain, and thus write down and in a sense kill, an unwritten rule. This one is so powerful and important that it didn’t need to be written.
So, you could see that with such daunting perceptions and such overwhelming expectations, it was very hard to get started on my unwritten book. Every time I tried to dare or dared to try to put pen to paper, I’d be crushed under the weight of phrases like “Is this how The Great American Novel starts?”
I know, you can always go back later and write the beginning. Don’t worry about that. Just start writing. Of course, I’ve read all those tips in my endless supply of “writer’s block” books.
But I figured if I can always go back later and write the beginning, then I could always go back later to do the middle and end, too. So I wouldn’t write anything and the more this happened the less I found myself pen-in-hand even trying to start something.
I was always coming up with half-baked (or in some cases fully-baked) book ideas that seemed cool at first but then later felt incomplete. Not worthy for a whole book. Not worthy of even starting, I told myself.