Writer’s Block: Blame It On Trump!

Trump 60 Minutes Interview

I had every intention of writing a blog post but that same old dread enveloped me like a noxious fog — President Trump.

Eye twitches.

I tried to calm myself by meditating: ohm, ohm… Oh, my God, President Trump.

Throat constricts.

I tried taking a walk to get inspired: Trees, birds… Trump.

Brain freezes.

I’ve got nothing, I said. Any thoughts? I asked Myself, usually a very good listener and purveyor of good advice.

But she wasn’t helpful this time. “I don’t know,” Myself said introspectively. “Maybe write something about Trump.”

“But that’s depressing,” I grumbled. “Thinking about Trump makes me grumpy, or dare I say, Trumpy. You know I haven’t written anything in months because of Trump.”

Myself just sighed. She knew that Trump’s bigoted, unhinged comments stifled my creativity and provoked me to yell at inanimate objects like the shoe I just tripped over.

“What the hell, shoe!” I yelled. “Are you trying to kill me?”

The shoe offered a laced up rebuke. “You left me here,” it said. “… abandoned me like all the ideas you’ve scribbled on torn pages in your notebook. This one is on you, missy!”

“But, but?”

But, there were no more buts. The shoe was right–literally.

I had no business yelling at anything and went on an apology tour to all the inanimate objects in the house.

I realized that being depressed and stuck is exactly what a bully would want from the ladies he’s grabbed by the pussy, metaphorically or figuratively.

It didn’t matter. If I allowed Trump to victimize me from afar, my voice would be silenced–exactly what Trump would want.

So, I’ll do my best not to get Trumped and rant in run-on sentences with protruding cartoon eyes. It only upsets my blog who stares at me blankly, sputtering nonsensical words across an anemic-looking page.

“Damn it!” I screamed. “Write something smart!”

At which point the sidearm of my chair slapped my wrist and said, “Stop choking the monitor!”

“My God. I’m a monster!” I unclenched the computer and wiped my fingerprints from the screen.

“Sorry blog. This anger thing is unconscious and scary pervasive. I need to get a grip without getting a grip. Use my hands for good, instead of evil.”

“The power of Christ compels you” to purge the beast and write.

But write about what? Puppies or politics?

I love puppies but their cuteness is wasted on words, best captured in video or pictures.

I love politics but lately just see the giant orange burrito spew guacamole on TV. It sends me on a taco spending spree to crush them in the compactor.

No, I need a Trumpectomy, to turn off the TV and get Trump out of my head. Once there’s nothing left of him, I’ll be able to write again.

Now, if I only could think of something to write about.

Has your writing been Trumped?

Perfectionism, What Is It Good For?

Door ClosedI was revising a post about the pitfalls of perfectionism and realized I couldn’t stop revising it. I had fallen into the very pitfall I wrote about in the post that no one would read.

What a conundrum and interesting predicament.

Interesting, because this predicament of mine could serve as a learning experience for other perfectionists. The perfect opportunity, I thought, to think out loud while asking the question: Why can’t I finish a post I’ve revised countless times and now look at with contempt?

Is the problem really my dissatisfaction with the piece or is there a deeper, darker reason why I can’t finish it?

I don’t have the answer because I just started asking the question.

This will be my therapy session. And I will be the therapist, which I know, seems unfair and probably counterproductive. But since I have the floor or whatever it is I have, I will continue asking the question, and hopefully, you will continue reading.

A Q&A will follow at which point I hope you’ll jump in with your thoughts or recommendation that I should be committed by the Geek Squad.

I should also probably mention that I’m ADD and a bit neurotic.

Anyway, as I type these rambling words (that never stop), I had an epiphany about my post that I had blamed perfectionism for not completing and realized that perfectionism was the symptom, not the cause — Because the cause was fear.

Yes, my thoughts were stuck in that cerebral mud pit in my brain known as fear, or post-traumatic post syndrome when I should have realized that writing a piece of anything, whether crap or candy, doesn’t matter. Writing something, anything is the point.

And making a point doesn’t hurt either.

Allowing the fear of failure to hold me or you back is really the true meaning of insanity and should be served with a restraining order.

Now, write something, then rinse and repeat.

My Existential Blogging Crisis

Door Closed

Blogger, Writer, Tech Support

I stop by my blog every now and then to dust off the dashboard.“Why am I here?” I ask, waiting for divine intervention. But, all I got was spam.

Other times, I return to the dashboard after receiving a bad news email from a security plugin that’s a bit of a drama queen.

“Stop what you’re doing and get over here!” It said in a panic. “I found a virus in a WordPress file.”

My instinct was to ignore it. But if I did, the plugin would just send ten more emails, screaming in all caps, “IF YOU DON’T GET RID OF THE VIRUS, I’M CALLING THE CDC.”

To avoid ending up as a hot spot on the government’s map of diseases, I logged into the dashboard and wasted an hour trying to fix the problem while food deprived and cranky from working all day. Clearly, I was in no condition to tackle a WordPress pandemic of this magnitude.

I called BlueHost tech support who couldn’t help me. Thirty minutes on the phone with them resulted in a support ticket and “Good luck with that,” which galvanized me to fix the problem as I scarfed down a snack at my computer.

Technical issues are one of the hazards of running a self-hosted WordPress blog. I was clueless about 404 pages, plugins, and widgets before I made the transition from Blogger to WordPress — a birthday gift from my parents while I was unemployed. Though the last thing I needed was more stress in my life at the time.

The Blogging Conundrum

When I started blogging over eight years ago, I wrote about the pitfalls of having an open-ended schedule while looking for work and then keeping the work I had found. As I told my husband who thought that writing meant goofing off, “Blogging is my therapy. There are just so many hours in a day in which I can look for a job or hold onto one.”

Blogging kept me as sane as I could possibly be. As a creative thinker, one hundred percent sanity is a condition I try to avoid.

In 2010, after I became a member of the underemployment club and started working four days a week, I published fewer and fewer blog posts. Until a year ago, my blogging screeched to a stop and skidded into a ditch. I didn’t know what to write about. My creative GPS was directionless. She kept telling me to “Make an illegal U-turn if at all possible.” But I couldn’t because I was stuck in a rut after getting lost from all the confusing signs along the Internet highway.

Signs like…

“You need to have a direction for your blog.”

“You need to know your audience and write for them.”

“If you cover too many topics, you’ll confuse your readers.”

Blah. Blah. Blah.

“My readers?” I said. “You mean the trolls who leave spam comments and thrive on chaos? I don’t want to encourage them.”

Confusion Is Confusing

But, I was still confused. I stood in the ditch watching the traffic light turn from red to green while others, who knew where they were going, whooshed on past me.

Then a thought approached me from behind and tapped me on the shoulder. “Excuse me,” it said. “Maybe confusion should be the focus of your blog.”

“Isn’t that crazy?” I asked. “Confusion would be too confusing, unless…” And at that moment, I realized that the thought was right. I should write about my journey to find a focus for my blog and my writing, collateral damage from being stuck, as well as the distractions that drove me into a ditch. Confusion will be my hook.

Today, I embrace chaos.

Do You Feel Like You’re Blogging In An Evening Gown?

That’s how it feels when I write a post on WordPress. I need to put on an evening gown to write, unlike Blogger, which has a casual dress code.

English: Geraldine Farrar in evening gown

English: Geraldine Farrar in evening gown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In September Ron, head writer of the fabulous blog Being Ron, wrote a post asking which blogging platform we preferred WordPress or Blogger?

I responded with this comment:

If I could do it all over again, I probably would have stuck with Blogger. For some reason, I had more fun when I had a Blogger blog. I think upgrading to a “professional” site has taken the fun out of blogging. It’s more formal. It’s like typing in an evening gown. I’d rather write in jeans…I miss Blogger. I upgraded my site for my writing platform. But, what’s the point of upgrading for your writing if you end up writing less?

I then told Ron that I would eventually write a post about the subject, citing him as my inspiration.

Well, I did write that post and called it Blogging In An Evening Gown. It was published yesterday at Huffington Post.

Thank you for starting the conversation, Ron.

Since upgrading my blog to WordPress, I’ve had to deal with many technical issues that were far above my pay grade. I’ve spent hours searching for answers online that I never found. Finally, I hired a tech-savvy avatar to fix all the problems that pissed off Google — who gave me a timeout.

For writers who blog, it’s difficult enough switching between writing in the sky and writing on earth. (It’s a different mindset.) Add tech issues to the mix and blogging/writing becomes toxic. That’s why I stopped messing with stuff in the dashboard I should have left alone. — I was ground zero. — I am my own worst enemy in the sky and on earth.

Shortly after being released by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), I learned how to achieve a fragile balance between blogging and writing. The result: I blog less but write more. It was the only way I could remain almost sane.

Thank you for reading the words of a somewhat sane madwoman.

I hope you’ll stop by Huffington Post and read my post that was inspired by Ron. And please stop by Ron’s place for some great stories and photos.

 

Why I hate promoting myself

In all the years I’ve been blogging — roughly 4 1/2 — I’ve never been comfortable promoting myself. And here I am about to embark on a mission to promote my latest blog post at Huffington Post, an achievement I’m quite proud of.

Scared!

Scared! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fear of posting on such a high-profile site was paralyzing at times. I can’t remember the number of revisions I made, or how many times I hesitated to click “submit” to the editors. When I was finally able to push past the fear and submit a blog post, the anguish of not feeling HuffPost worthy scratched at my brain. Perhaps that is why I didn’t write a blog post here the first time I was published on Huffington Post. Sure, I could have squeezed one out, but I didn’t.

Yet, I managed to puff my chest on Facebook because I was among friends, and friends of friends. Of course, you are my friends, too. I love all of you and am grateful you keep coming back to read my thoughts on cyberspace paper, in an extrasensory sort of way.

Writing a blog post takes a lot more effort these days. I’ve got achy breaky hands from typing, and my focus has been fuzzy at best — which I blame on summer head. I guess I can’t use summer head as an excuse much longer. Maybe the warm weather will find its way into fall. I can only hope.

As I can only hope you will forgive this awkward attempt at self promotion and help exacerbate my feelings of inadequacy by commenting and tweeting and liking (or not) my post at Huffington Post … Oh, insecurity, how I loathe thee and your vile cursed ways of making blogging so damn hard.

Thanks. Peace out.

Hint Fiction: Short, But Not Necessarily Sweet

 

Graffiti: Hint

Graffiti: Hint (Photo credit: Franco Folini)

I lost my engagement ring. The coroner found it on a corpse on the dance floor, clenched inside her fist. My fiancée’s missing.

 

Jayne’s Micro Writing Challenge. Join in and link up at Injaynesworld.

The Challenge: Write a story (beginning, middle and end) that hints at a larger story, but is complete within itself, in 25 words or less.

 

 

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