How to beat writer’s block: Write about your failure to write


Why can’t I write? I don’t understand it. I read books about writing, and then feel overcome with the desire to write. But later, I’ll do it later, when I have time, when I’m alone.

I’ve gotten up every day, for months now, and written my morning pages: three pages of stream of consciousness scribbling. I’ve gone on creative excursions and given myself precious time alone. I took a drawing class, to exercise some different artistic muscles. I did all 12 weeks of The Artist’s Way, including the awful one where I gave up reading, podcasts and television. I’ve laid every bit of groundwork I can, and then some. I am the person who wants to write a novel, but instead spends years building the perfect writing cottage in the backyard. I think my cottage is finished now. I have no excuses left.


A walk in the woods


Today I took myself for a walk in the forest.

As I walked, completely alone, the sun shone through the tender spring leaves, the wind rushed through the treetops, and the ferns, just unfurling their fronds for the year, lined my path.

A little way down the trail, a simple wooden bridge crossed over a small creek. I stopped at the end of it and sat down on the bank of the creek to watch and listen to the life of the forest.


The words that changed (one week of) my life

I knit a whole hat!

I knit a whole hat!

As soon as I read the words, I wanted to slam the book shut, take it into the backyard, and burn it.

The book was The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, the cult classic about how to commune with your “Creator” and unblock your inner artist. I’m still not entirely convinced I have an inner artist, but the book was only 10 bucks on Amazon. Who knows, I thought, maybe it will finally inspire me to write my great American novel.


Summer’s slow fade

Summer’s slow fade has begun.

I can hear it in the mornings, when I sit quiet with my coffee. The cricket’s song still thrums outside my window, but it is muted now. The percussion section is gone, or maybe it’s the bass.

The last firefly has flickered out. The pool is shuttered. Our late evening walks to the park have been replaced by the routines of school: homework, piano practice, showers … and nagging. So much nagging.


For mom, with love

In honor of Mother’s Day, let me tell you a few things about my mother:

MomShe is brave.
She stood up on a stage and told a roomful of strangers one of the hardest stories of her life: suffering a brain injury that ended her teaching career. She speaks at funerals. She stands by her friends when they are sick or suffering. She put an Obama sign in her yard, even though all her neighbors are passionate Republicans.