Writer's Block

March 27, 2008
By Andrea Johnson, Gladstone, MO

I gnashed my teeth and felt like ripping my hair out. I stamped my feet in impatience and groaned in frustration. The empty page sat in front of me, pen placed nicely askew, mocking me. The shear blankness of the paper was enough to drive me crazy. Add to that a lack of sleep and a caffeine high that was nearing its end, and you have a full on attack of the feared, the revered, the avoided, Writer’s block. It strikes almost all writers at some point with its crippling blow, leaving them scratching their heads, searching for an idea, a spark to get the writing train going again.

The impending due date for my paper did not leave my mind once as I contemplated my options. I could pretend I was sick. That would give me an extra day, though who’s to say the Writer’s block would leave me by then? I could just not turn in the paper, but that wasn’t even a choice. This assignment was something like forty percent of my grade. If I didn’t turn this in, I would fail, and I couldn’t. I could cheat and find a short story on the Internet, written by a little-known author, and no one would ever know. I could do that, but my opinion of myself would be forever marred, so that was set aside as well.

I was at an impasse, and one whose end I could not see. Pretending to be sick seemed like the best option: it would give me time to think of something to write about. A pointless paper would be better than a blank one, after all. I lay my head down on the offensive blank page, willing my brain to think, but the stress of the day and the paper that sat in front of me in all of its uncompleted glory, took all of my focus. How was I to come up with a good, sound piece of literature when thoughts of D minuses were crowding my mental space? I cringed as an image of a D minus on my grade card entered my mind.

All of this thinking was making me tired, and the soothing, repetitive sound of the clock in my bedroom lulled me to sleep after a few minutes.

The next morning I woke up surprisingly alert and ready to go. My hair was sticking up on one side and was plastered to my face on the other, but that mattered not to me. During the night, inspiration had come to me in the form of a dream, and I had to write before the thought left my mind, and before the first bell rang. Ignoring my awful morning breath, I picked up my magnificent writing utensil and set it to the paper, savoring the slight pressure it put against my willing fingers. The pen flew across the page, almost unconsciously, as if my muscles knew exactly what they were doing. Soon I had put the final period on the page and once that was done, I picked it up and held it in front of me in triumph. I had stared Writer’s block in the face and had come away victorious. My paper was done and I still had time to get ready.
“Writer’s block,” I thought, “consider yourself officially and permanently banished.”

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