Blog Post: Headline Not Included! Writing without a headline frees your thoughts.

When you're ADHDI used to wait until I had a headline before writing a blog post but realized a headline corrals your thoughts. Sometimes you need to let your thoughts run free. See where they lead you, not follow where your headline tells them to go.

That’s when I have the most fun writing—when I let my mind wander, and get that “jump off the cliff without a parachute” thrill while sitting on my ass. Because jumping off a cliff was never my thing, on those rare occasions, I got off my ass to exercise my legs, instead of staying on my ass to exercise my thoughts.

You exercise your thoughts without breaking a sweat or pulling a muscle. Though eye strain is possible. And some people have been known to slam their heads against the keyboard every now and then. Ouch! A Confusion Contusion.

But I’m not talking about timid writers. I’m talking about adventurous writers who live for the thrill of creating something out of nothing. Turning a blank page into a word paradise. Writers who aren’t afraid to jump off the page into an unknown place that gets the heart and mind racing, and keeps the fingers tapping the keyboard, yearning for more.

It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you write.

Creating something out of nothing can be scary and intimidating. Yet, most days, life detours off into places “unknown.” Places you didn’t intend to go, which should be a blueprint for writers who want to evolve. Your writing won’t get better if you stay on your comfort cushion with the indelible ass print that says, “Here sits status quo.”

Even if you write about one topic most of the time, you can push the envelope of discourse. Because I bet there are times you get bored or blocked or mad at your keyboard and hurt it instead of stroke it. That’s when you know you’ve stopped writing for pleasure and started torturing yourself.

Ideas are fragile. They need to be massaged, not bruised.

I’ve spent months torturing myself. I’ve been told by the so-called “experts” that I should write on point and keep my content within certain parameters. I tried to cookie-cut my writing, tried to squeeze my content into a box, but I don’t think inside a box. My content needs to speak from me, not someone else who thinks they know me better than I know myself.

Listening to the so-called “experts” broke my writing. For months, I was blocked. I questioned my very writing existence while I tried to focus on four or five topics. The best format for my content I was told. But the experts didn’t know me. Something that may have been best for others wasn’t best for me.

Write from the voice in your heart.

My blog is my playground, a place to think and breathe words, not to smother them. If every time I write I have to worry if a post fits into a theme or a headline, it’ll stifle creativity and the blank page wins.

All the so-called “experts” can tell you what you need for your blog or writing, but if you’re not comfortable with what you’re being told and your writing becomes stifled or even non-existent, you’re not taking advice from the most important person, yourself.

Write for the right to speak the truth in your voice and heart. Otherwise, that blank page will stare at you and say, “Why bother?”

Have you ever gotten bad writing advice?

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.

Don’t Be A Writer’s Blockhead!

 

Type Until You Write!

 

Bleh!

Burble!

Blurg!

No words … Nothing!

Writer's BlockheadI don’t know why I can’t write. I’ve got a head full of ideas. They trample each other on their way to the processing center of my brain. Few make it there alive. Some are captured and locked away in the file dungeon on my desktop.

“How ‘bout a post about . . . Yeah, that could work,” I mutter to Microsoft Word.

He dismisses me and hits the delete key.

“That’s great,” is what he types then adds “sarcastically” in all caps.

“Great for my ego. Thanks!”

Then Microsoft Word crashes before I save half the sentence that trails off into empty spaces on the page.

Maybe I shouldn’t revive the draft. It’s more dead than it is alive, attached to the faux paper screen that stands vertically, rather than horizontally – the correct position for a piece of paper.

“Forget you!”

I click on the Google Chrome icon on my computer, instead, and get lost in a virtual html storm. One site and then another gets stuffed into history along with cookies and spam. Snacks for the weary cyberspace traveler, bleary eyed in an awake REM daydream.

Flitting around in an intangible world that floats above earth like a balloon caught in a jet stream tantrum, courtesy of El Nino and La Nina, Mother Nature’s bratty kids.

For Christ sake, discipline them! Don’t scream “Shut up!” at them in a thunderous clap, then enable their bad behavior by rewarding them with a whirly ride in a hurricane.

Give them a time out. Stick them in a corner of California. The west coast is dry and lacks an invigorating tropical punch.

Denying them treats will temper their bad weather pattern that produces stormy outbursts consistent with the terrible two ninos.

Otherwise, a desktop, weather drama queen will popup from your taskbar and scream, “Hurricane alert! Shut down your computer and hide under your desk. Don’t worry about that half-assed draft lying in a coma. The words sound like gibberish anyway, but in fact may be Yiddish, because your words “are goat droppings” or as my people say, “bupkes.”

 What’s your cure for writer’s block?

Write Something. Damn it! Who cares if it’s crap, literally?

 

Mr-AcerbicA conversation with myself because no one else will listen.

Why don’t I feel like writing? – Arctic spring weather? Green goop in China? Wrist Apnea?

Lame, lame and lame. Just strike the damn keys until something appears –

Black-and-blue words, broken letters…

Cut the crap! You’re being lazy. No one gets anywhere by being lazy. You’ve got to park your butt on the chair and exercise your fingers. Just do it, if that is what you want to do. The hell with everything else.

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Blankety-blank page, the bleeping white brain suck

 

Thought I’d never see you again. But here you are, staring at me like a white light at the end of an airport ramp crammed with waitlisted souls.

God, you are not. If I were to compare you to an omnipotent being, it would be the devil. You torture me like he does and are as unforgiving as he is.

You burn my eyes with what I thought was desire but is eyestrain instead.

troll-devil

As I stare into oblivion, not a word on the page, only a nagging internal voice harassing me about stupid shit.

You idiot. The Word document language is set to French. No wonder the dictionary didn’t recognize the word ”blank” or “obnoxious.”

That could happen to anyone.

Doubtful!

Don’t you have anything better to do than annoy me?

Yes, but this is much more fun. Don’t you have laundry to do?

I still have “B” drawer clothing.

Not those old ratty jeans that are so faded the holes have holes.

I’ve got a long blouse that hides them.

Another hair-brained “I love Lucy” solution. Anyway, I thought you were trying to write…if that’s what you call sitting at your desk with eyes glazed over like a ham. 

I was making progress until you interrupted.

No, you were brain-dead at your desk.

Well, it’s late. I’m fried

Brain-dead, like I said. Why waste your time trying to squeeze out a thought. You could be sleeping, two dogs deep in bed with the snorer.

I just elbow Jim when I can’t take it any more.

I was talking about you.

I’d be able to sleep if you didn’t blab incessantly about nonsensical shit. What’s a Goople anyway?

It’s the dying civilization of the Goop; distant relatives of swamp people who coexist with crocodiles with which they fight for food. But often the crocodiles win. And the Goople race continues to dwindle in numbers while the crocodiles thrive.

And you wonder why I can’t sleep.

You can’t write either. Remember, blank page, whiny babble.

Well, this time, your obnoxious cynicism and outlandish ideas have actually helped. See the words!

Damn you! I’m not finished yet. As soon as you’ve finished belching from your lousy cooking, I’m going inundate you with more crazy shit.

I’m participating in Silly Sunday, hosted by Sandy of Comedy Plus. Laugh and Link Up!

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Are you Scribeaphobic – Afraid to Write?

Maria Yakunchikova "Fear" 1893-95Image via Wikipedia

Some days I would rather do anything than write, which inevitably gives way to a game of self-deception.

The game begins with a glance out the window under the guise of seeking inspiration. I hone in on the dandelions instead.

“Must eliminate,” I mutter like a section eight patient and head outside to hunt down militant weeds.

After finishing my murderous rampage and disposing the dandelion remains in a body bag, I stopped to catch my breath by a flowering rhododendron plant. Powerfully pungent, a whiff of the fragrant fumes sent me into a hallucinogenic trance, killing brains cells I had put aside for writing.

“Nice try.” The now talking rhododendron said. “Get back in the house and write. You’ll grow more brain cells on the way.”

Not wanting to anger the rhododendron, I dropped the body bag and staggered back inside, collapsing by the foot of the stairs covered with dandelion DNA.

In penance for picking dandelions instead of words, I climbed the stairs on hands and knees and then embedded my butt into the chair in front of the computer. I peered into a cold, white screen that reminded me of a barren frozen wasteland. The thought chilled me, freezing my fingers and bones. Shaking uncontrollably, I retreated to the bedroom for a sweater and then returned to the blinding white screen that now beat down upon me like a hot Sahara sun.

I removed the sweater and typed three words, “Fear of Writing” then stopped. What if I can’t write anything of merit? I grabbed the mouse and moved the cursor to the Internet icon, deluding myself that I would find inspiration in cyberspace — Another self-deception.

I released the mouse and stared at the white screen that appeared to be staring back at me in a judgmental sort of way. My pulse raced and my mouth turned dry. I didn’t have to do a Google search to know that I was afraid to write.

What would a shrink say?

“Ms. Salkin, I’m afraid I have bad news. The symptoms you describe: sweaty palms, easily distracted, palpitations, dizziness can only mean one thing – Panic Scribe Syndrome.”

“Is it serious?” I asked.

“Only if you obsess on it like I do.”

“How can I cure myself of Panic Scribe Syndrome?”

“By writing.”

“Does the phrase ‘vicious cycle’ mean anything to you?” I screamed.

“I’m afraid that’s all the time we have.”

So, maybe a shrink wasn’t the answer. Maybe I needed to increase my dosage of Vitamin B, try Yoga, or Acupuncture. Maybe a morning jog down a slippery slope, or a spin around the neighborhood on a stationary bike would cure me of my fear of writing unless it killed me first.

Already mired in guilt from not writing anything good or bad, I succumbed to the “poor me” part of my brain and asked, Why do I write? Why do I attempt to write? I pondered the question for a minute or two before I concluded, because it makes me feel good.

Another of life’s ironies. How can something that makes you feel so good also make you feel so bad? I couldn’t answer the question. “Maybe I should Google it.”

“There you go again,” said the shrink echoing Ronald Regan’s words.

“You’re right,” I said. “I mean. I’m right.”

I dimmed the bright computer screen and positioned the cursor beneath the title, “Fear of Writing.” It only takes a second to become distracted. I typed, following the advice of the phantom shrink I neglected to pay.

“The only cure for Panic Scribe Syndrome is to write.”

Gee. I wish I had thought of that.

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