When Your Writing Flatlines.

Out of body experienceImage via Wikipedia.


Alice Smith sits in front of her computer, about to write. Suddenly, her computer freezes. She can’t think. A pain shoots through her brain — a writing blockage immobilizes her.

The white screen of death gives her the evil eye. Her brain shuts down, as the room spins.

She passes out onto the floor, triggering a right-brain auto responder that alerts the library.

An Emergency Writing Technician (EWT) unit is dispatched to her home and takes her to the library.

Alice’s brainwaves flatline…

Rhymes with flatline: Align, alkyne, blue line, blush wine, bovine, bustline, byline, canine, Einstein . . 

An EWT worker repeatedly zaps her brain.

Damn it! I’m losing her.

Alice slips into darkness. Weightless, her soul rises from her body into a brightening void.

At the end of the void in the biography section of the library, she meets Jack Smith, her great, great, great grandfather, who wrote obituaries for the local newspaper.

It’s time to go back and finish your novel.

But it is so peaceful here. I can finish it here.

It’s supposed to be peaceful. It’s a library. But grouchy old men and women meet here every day for their book club and speak loudly because they are hard of hearing.

I could wear headphones.

It wouldn’t be the same thing. You’d only be writing in theory, not in practice. You must go back.

But I hate my protagonist.

You’ll figure it out.

But it’s hard work.

Bushisms won’t work here. Now be gone!

He turns on the Dyson Soul Sucker 300.

But I voted for John Kerry-ry, ry, ry…

A deafening sound overwhelms her. Her soul is yanked from the bright light in the biography section to the dark void in her brain. Her body jerks. With a gasp, she opens her eyes.


You saved her!


But can you save my novel?

Moral of this story: You can revive your writing if it flatlines.

  • If you’re stuck, take a break and work on something else.
  • If you’re stuck up to your neck in quicksand, call for help – preferably someone with a strong rope and a trusted set of eyes with twenty-plus vision – and have him/her take a look-see.
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10 Comments When Your Writing Flatlines.

  1. Jen

    You know, I had a child talk, talk, talking while I was TRYING to read this. It's Halloween and it's not dark yet, but it's close, and she's already had too much candy. So why do I even bother? I don't know but it sure explains why I can't write anything.

    I read (because my mind was in ten different places) that you hate your proctologist, which seemed reasonable to me.

    * Firefox doesn't know what a proctologist is! I get the red squiggly line but the closest thing it gives me is 'parasitologist' which could be construed the same way I suppose.

  2. Lauren

    I was just editing this. Were you having problems accessing it? The proctologist is in the election post.

    My dogs are driving me nuts. I am also having trouble concentrating.

  3. Greg

    As I sit here and wait for the EWT's to arrive and jolt my brain back to life, so that I can come up with something clever to write about your post…I'll just say.."There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

    Loved your post!

  4. Lauren

    Ziva: LOL!

    Thanks Greg. Got to love the Bushisms.

    Reffie: Ha! Actually, you bring up a good point. In writing, you need both the brain and the heart. They're a team like Lucy and Ricky, Abbott and Costello, Donny and Marie. Maybe not Donny and Marie.


    Lauren, I can always count on you to make me laugh! Do you think the EWT could also perform a specialty bybass for the writing block? My brain network is definitely clogged! I'm so happy I got an early Monday morning giggle before the daily grind really got moving! Happy week Lauren

  6. Snuggle Wasteland

    I was encouraging my oldest to be a lawyer but I think it would be much more beneficial to have an EWT in the family.


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