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A Write of Passage

 article about what are the affects of writers block
I am pretty new to the concept of writers block. I have heard about
this affliction but otherwise I have no personal experience with the
dreaded feeling a writer gets when he cant think of anything to write
about. I'm told it is excruciating agony.

I can think of plenty
of times when I was working on a comedy routine and had a hard time
coming up with a good premise. I recall NOT liking the sensation at
all. However, can I call those moments writers block? I'd finish the
assignments in a timely manner. Ive always understood writers block to
be an insufferable, ongoing process. Nobody really knows how long it
can last. I suppose my brief instances without inspiration could have
been writers block. If it is generally a much longer drawn out process
than I suppose, Ive never really had it before.

Of course, NOW
I have taken it upon myself to submit columns every week to The Cheers.
Without really thinking about what could happen if I ran out of ideas,
I signed on and charged myself with the task of creating something new
on a regular basis. I didnt consider that sometimes I may not have
anything to write about. I didnt stop to think that there would be
times when I wasnt feeling well, or was too busy to sit down and write.
It never dawned on me that writing 1,500+ words week after week could
be very difficult. ]

I just contacted the editor, said, I'd like
to be a writer! and began typing away. Why on Earth would I submit
myself to this sort of pressure? Missing a week here is not the end of
the world mind you, but I have self-imposed this need to write
something and have therefore created a sense of urgency to complete the
mission.

Thinking about it, I've no idea if Siim Einfeldt
woke up one morning and said , I'd like to be an editor! and just
haphazardly started The Cheers. What if he were as nave as I was when I
thought I could actually write for a magazine?

Am I the only one
who made this ridiculous leap into a new world? Does everyone here at
The Cheers fall into the category of wannabe writer convincingly faking
BEING an actual writer?" Is this how all writers get into the business?
Is it possible that all of the greatest novelists, columnists,
playwrights and journalists just one day said , UmmId like to be a
writer, and began writing?
All things considered, I am writing AND
people are reading. I can assume Im doing something write. Write! See
what I did there? I made a lexicological joke. Okay it was a typo that
Im pretending is a clever pun, not unlike my pretending to be a writer.

Im
composing this now and trying to figure out when Ill be a real writer
and more importantly, feel like one. Is there any sort of tell-tale
sign I should look for?

I have been with The Cheers since
issue #3, and have been fairly prolific. I have also written comedy
routines, sketches, short stories, plays, and columns years before Id
ever decided to start submitting works anywhere. Clearly, longevity has
nothing to do with it. I know many lousy entertainers that have been in
the business a long time.

I co-wrote a book for cigar smokers
called The Don Martello Cigar Smokers Journal. That book was sold in
cigar stores in several states. I own the copyright and still sell
copies off my website to this day. Selling a book could make you a
writer I suppose.

A column I wrote about Prom was published in
the Marengo Star newspaper my junior year of high school. It was not
the same Prom article I wrote for The Cheers, mind you, but wouldnt it
be even funnier if it was? Funny, until my parents found out how active
a young lad I was.

In grade school, I won a creative writing
contest and had to read the winning story in front of the PTA. THAT WAS
COOL! Well, the cash prize was cool, the story itself was pretty lame.
I wrote a heart-warming tale about Snoopys dog dish from the dishs
point of view. Obviously my competition really sucked.

Regardless
of these fine credentials and my ongoing presence in The Cheers, I
cannot claim full ownership of the title, writer." Perhaps there are
other ways to achieve this goal.

Hearing nice things from
other writers is always good. Ive received many kind remarks from
people who certainly have more of a writing pedigree than myself. I
havent received my signed Opus sketch yet, but I know Berkeley Breathed
is a busy man.

I have received a few nice e-mails and comments
from readers of my work. Of course I have also heard complaints. OOH!
If they complain as well as praise, I MUST be connecting to people on
some sort of emotional level with my writing. Hmmmwhat else?

I See Some Similarities

I
have been told I remind people of other writers. Thats got to be
something-being compared to other writers? Since I dont read much of
anything at all. I dont know if these comparisons are necessarily good.
I have HEARD of most of the authors mentioned but I have no practical
knowledge of their work. I should just accept the comments as
compliments. Then again, a good friend of mine boldly proclaimed that
my work was akin to Hunter S. Thompson meets Hemingway. He sure seemed
excited about the comparison and since I didnt get the chance to find
out if he meant Ernest or Mariel Hemingway I assumed the statement was
indeed a good thing. Regardless I told him he needed to ease off of the
Guinness for awhile.

I guess the only way Ill truly know if Im a
writer is if I ever suffer from writers block. It appears to be the
only disease inherent to writers. There arent many other maladies that
befall writers are there? There is writers cramp , but since I write
most of my work while downloading porn I cant blame writing for all the
pain in my wrist. I wonder if there are a lot of chronic masturbators
telling their doctors that theyre writers to prevent embarrassment.

Too
Drinky!So what happens when you contract writers block? Ive been told
that you struggle with every word in your head, trying to make sense of
them all. It is as if the very thought of constructing a coherent
sentence causes all knowledge of form and structure to fall into
nothingness. Your ability to take words and create even a single line
of text simply disappears.

Another symptom is over-analyzing
why you cant write anything. You panic, making writing an even more
difficult task . You examine your past works, contemplate why you got
into the business, and compare any new sentence to other works using
impossibly high standards." 'I am pretty new to the concept of writers
block?' Oh my GOD! How could I have written such utter and total CRAP?
'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.' Now THERES an
opening line! Is Starbucks hiring?

Incidentally, that
oft-quoted line from A Tale of Two Cities is credited as THE opening
line to end all opening lines. However, if you read the ENTIRE passage,
youll find that it is arguably the single most self-indulgent sentence
ever written. In fact, the entire first paragraph, all 119 words, is
ONE LONG SENTENCE! Id have flunked my writing classes if Id tried to
write something that drawn out. Charles Dickens was the Bill Zehme of
his day. If Charles Dickens were in a rock band hed no doubt be the
lead guitar player.

Eventually, you write about ANYTHING that
comes to your mind. Every real writer will tell you the only way to
defeat writers block is to write. But writing for the sake of writing
is the worst! You get so paranoid about writing something good,
publishing your grocery list seems like a brilliant idea. 'Eggs, milk,
cereal, toilet paper, toothpaste, cat food' - Yeah, thats it! Check the
word count & see how Im doing.

Some writers, desperate for
subjects will try free association, hoping something will stand out as
a worthy topic. Why is it so hard to get a cat to switch brands of cat
food? Purina has a website? I havent updated my website in awhile. Am I
visiting too many porn websites? I should write an article about porn
for The Cheers. Who the hell gave my Kentucky article a rating of 6? I
havent been to Kentucky in 6 years. Six is a dozen. A dozen is how many
eggs come in a carton. Eggs, milk, cereal, toilet paper, toothpaste,
cat food - BRILLIANT!!!"

Once I suffer through these painful
symptoms and survive the ordeal by writing an amusing little column I
will truly be able to call myself a writer. Having never had the
illness I must confess that I am still just a pretender. Nope. Never
had writers block. Not me. Id sure hate to find out what THAT is like.



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