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Ellie: WANTED: One Hobgoblin. No Navels, Please.

[Crossposted from my personal blog.]

Want to know what happens when you Google “writer’s block”? I’ll tell you: a whole lot of nothing.

Wikipedia provides this definition: “Writer’s block may have many causes. A writer may run out of inspiration. The writer may be greatly distracted and feel they may have something that needs to be done before hand.”

I always feel greatly distracted, and I always have something that needs to be done beforehand. So far laundry and the need to pay some attention to my children, on occasion, hasn’t prevented me from being able to write.

Is it the other option? Have I run out of inspiration?

Here’s what normally happens: I’m going about my day, minding my own business, when ZING! a little germ of a thought, or idea, just pops into my head. It doesn’t particularly matter if it is a good idea or not. What matters is what it does to me: I turn it over and over, around and around, it takes on a life of its own and I can’t not write about it. Once I’ve written about it, gotten it out of me, then I decide if it is worth putting out there for general consumption. Since I’m terrible at figuring out what is good, and what isn’t, I generally just put it all out there. Lucky you.

Having nothing to say, no little germ of an idea or thought to be found anywhere in the vast wasteland that is my brain, is new to me. It appears the little hobgoblin in my head that produces things to write about has gone on to better endeavors, like navel gazing. It is too generous to call what I have a Muse — Muses are surrounded in light with long flowing white robes and bestow wonderful ideas upon people….. mine kind of snortles around looking for acorns and occasionally chucks me one.

The kids, my other source of seemingly endless material, aren’t cooperating. They have been sick and haven’t been up to their usual shenanigans. Unless, of course, I were to talk about the half hour conversation I had with my son yesterday about his boy parts, and even my hobgoblin knows that isn’t a good idea.

I don’t think I appreciated how much writing, for me, is a kind of self-therapy; I am inspired to write when I’m churning with some problem, anxiety or hurdle. And you know what? I’m feeling pretty good these days. Last week was awful — to be sure. Someone has been throwing up in my house for the past seven days (now it’s my husband, even the dog had a turn). We’ve been house-bound, bored and rundown for a long time. But I’m okay. I kept my cool, took care of my kids, let myself off the hook with the housework, and we’re getting through it.


So I guess I’ll kick back, relax and wait for my hobgoblin to stop looking at her navel. Or for someone to pee in the DVD player, or something.

In desperation, I even Googled “I have nothing to say.” You know what I found? A whole bunch of people writing about how they have nothing to write about.

Hmmmmm…there’s an idea.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Brittany Vandeputte #

    Ellie, I so feel your pain. I’m either a vast wasteland of nothingness or so consumed with writing mojo I can’t see straight. Nothing in between for me. And at this moment, my muse is jerking me around by the hair, commanding me to work. I’m so keyed up and energized I feel like my head may pop off at any moment.

    So here’s my advice to you…

    Go find your goblin, pour both of you a nice stiff drink, read a book for purely salacious purposes, and rest up. You’ll need the energy when he starts chucking acorns again. 🙂

    February 3, 2010
  2. Ellie, I’m the same way. When an idea strikes, I can’t NOT write about it. I drag my laptop with me everywhere. I keep journals handy all the time. I just have to write the ideas down as they come (often the second I wake up in the morning as I’m remembering my dreams), and then I sort them out later. Sometimes the real challenge is not getting too distracted by the new ideas and finishing the projects I already started.

    Don’t worry. You sound like the type of writer where your goblin is never gone for long. He’ll jump out from behind something and surprise you, and then you’ll be off on another wild chase. I like Brittany’s advice. In the mean time, guard the DVD player.

    February 7, 2010

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