Writer's Block | Teen Ink

Writer's Block MAG

December 19, 2007
By Anonymous

It was a Tuesday, the third of October, when my muse left me. Half­way through the third chapter of my deliciously satirical exposé, which I had so cleverly titled “The Ethical Politician,” it happened. My pen froze to the paper, a pool of ink spreading from its point. The sentence made no sense. Verbs, nouns, prepositional phrases – all words no longer relevant in my suddenly empty mind. My creativity had vanished.

High and low I searched for it. From the tip of my intellect to the depths of my emotional being I groped in the darkness, hoping to strike a creative vein. It was nowhere to be found. A stream of obscenities issued forth, searing the abruptly discontinued ­editorial. I stood alone in the barren wasteland of my once-creative mind.

I envisioned myself in the desert. The sun hung menacingly overhead, yet there was no heat. White sand stretched endlessly in every direction.
I looked up. The sun had become a strange shade of blue, casting a frail white pallor over my Saharan prison. There could be no hope in this place.

The desert vanished as my pen fell from my hand. Wait. That whole daydreaming bit, that’s creativity, right? I definitely just cre­ated something. A devastating realization cascaded down on me; the world seemed less bright. I had encountered the one thing all writers fear most – writer’s block.

I broke out in a cold sweat. All ­manner of creative stimuli had to be employed. I sipped coffee on the fire escape. I lost myself in the works of Louis Armstrong, snapping my fingers to the beat. I encountered the staggering enormity of it all as a flock of geese soared overhead. Truly uninspiring. I stared hopelessly at my brown metal desk. It was the sort of desk you’d expect to see in a police station, or a crematorium. Thin metal was sprayed with just enough paint to conceal its grayness. Cheap metal handles on the drawers, a plain wooden slab for the surface – the least stimulating piece of furniture I had ever seen.

Come to think of it, the study itself was pretty drab. The decidedly Victorian motif had been designed to channel my late nineteenth-century novelist. The mauve walls stood bare save for a threadbare tapestry. A stout, curtained window allowed the only natural light into the room. A green and brown afghan spread from the desk to the windowed wall. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have been proud. The antiquity, however, had lost its charm. I felt as if the brown desk and stagnant, outdated study were ­sapping my creative ­potential.

I could feel the hairs on my arms rise as the imagination being pulled from my body leaked from their ends in little wisps, drifting lazily to the ceiling and fading into nothingness. The problem was apparent: my study was a boring pit of creative doom. The solution was obvious: I had to renovate, and in doing so reclaim my muse from the clutches of writer’s block. Yes, then it would be all right, once my creativity returned.

Over the next few weeks, my study began to be transformed, starting with a series of framed paintings bearing the pastel likenesses of various fruits. (My favorite was the pomegranate: what a striking shade of violet!) The afghan was replaced by glossy wood floor. Malevolent creativity hummed and crackled at my fingertips as I tossed the tapestry into the garbage and heaved the afghan off the fire escape. I ambled smugly into the study, a brilliant cloud of visionary might swirling impatiently around my head, waiting to be unleashed on some hapless slip of parchment. That is, it was waiting until the room was perfect.

Perfection arrived the next day at precisely three o’clock post meridian. The day had consisted of wandering dazedly from store to store in hopes of finding a replacement for that brown abomination of a desk. Oh, how I loathed it. I had been everywhere, from the low-end stores with the haggard-looking salesmen to the upscale boutiques, heady perfume richly encompassing the overpriced collections. Ironically, perfection had been waiting for me in a local thrift shop.

As I shouldered open the heavy glass door I noticed a rickety table laden with bread and bagels; a makeshift sign labeled hastily in large magic marker read, FREE. It seemed this is where I would be doing the majority
of my grocery shopping should my creativity fail me indefinitely. I started ­uncomfortably through the store.

Rack upon rack of donated clothes stood between me and the furniture section, placed conveniently against the
far wall. I pushed through, holding my breath against the overpowering scent of cheap fabric softener. I emerged victoriously into an array of battered desks, lumpy couches, and sagging armchairs. Slowly I picked my way through. Too dull. Too small. Too big. Scratched. As I passed a tragically neglected piece of what must have once been a gorgeous baroque dining set, my foot caught a nearby table leg and I toppled onto the dusty floor.

I lay sprawled out, contemplating my complete failure. And then I saw it. The double doors leading to the back room swung open, and a short man pushing a cart emerged. On it stood the most glorious piece of furniture I had ever seen. It was a desk like no other, ovular in nature from the bird’s eye perspective, perfectly flush drawers blending seamlessly into its seduc­tively curvy frame. I could feel the ­creativity trying to force its way out, oozing through the stitches holding the leather pad to the writing surface. I suddenly knew that I had been put on this earth to own that desk and pen the greatest literary works of our time on its surface. I scrambled to my feet and rocketed toward the man with the cart, hurdling over scattered ottomans and credenzas as I went.

“Is this for sale?” I asked, gasping for breath.

“Uh, yeah,” he replied, puzzled.

“I’ll take it.”

After quite a bit of leveraging, the desk rested in the bed of my truck. I tossed a five spot in the little man’s ­direction. After all, he deserved it. A faint breeze rustled the leaves strewn about the parking lot, carrying the faint spectral voice of my muse from the bed of the pickup. I followed the breeze all the way home, speeding through red lights and deftly weaving through the cacophony of angry horns.

At long last I pulled into the parking lot of my apartment complex. After a horrendously long elevator ride – they always seem to dawdle at the most ­crucial times – I threw open the door
to my apartment and confronted that brown abomination seated betwixt me and my imprisoned creativity.

With tremendous malice and the darkest of ambition, I tore the drawers from it, heaving them from the fire escape in what I hoped was the general direction of the dumpster. However, even without the drawers it was too heavy. And so I enlisted the assistance of my neighbor, Chad.

“Are you all right?” he inquired, surveying my sweat-soaked T-shirt and malevolent grin.

“Oh, fine,” I answered, wringing my hands. “Got a minute? I need your help removing my old writing desk. Sapping my creativity, it is.”

“There,” I said, with a dramatic ­gesture, “is the abomination.”

We hurled it from the fire escape, and never had I been so satisfied. High-fives were in order.

“Could I borrow your muscle for just one more minute?” I asked.

There was something not quite right about Chad that day. An underlying distrust tainted his every word – to be investigated at another time perhaps. After yet another painstakingly long ­elevator ride we regarded the pickup.

“I see,” said Chad.

“Oh, come now,” I chided. “It’ll ­only take a minute.”

As it turns out, it took 30. The glorious oval masterpiece finally stood victoriously in the study, basking in the lavish caress of a sunbeam.

“Thank you, Chad,” I murmured, ­enraptured by the warm glow surrounding the desk.

He walked out, slamming the door.
I continued to stare. I slowly ran my fingertips over the leather surface; the torrential flow of creativity threatened to crush my being. Paper and pen were suddenly necessary for survival.

The next three days were a blur. I neither ate nor drank. I slept in fits.
I wrote 47 pages the first day, 68 the second, and an even 100 on the third.
I was a god behind that desk, my pen
a scepter commanding creative forces previously unknown. The once-casual ­inspiration had exploded ­into full-blown epiphany. I wrote 14 pages about the striking combination of wind and a forest reflected in the surface of a lake, and they were all brilliant. Food, drink, sleep – all trivial ­afterthoughts in the exquisite mind of an immortal like myself.

On the twelfth day sans human nourishment, it happened. Again. My pen froze, the ominous ink spreading from its bleeding tip. No way could this happen. The walls, the floor, the desk, it was all perfect. Never had there been such inspirational furnishings. I tried to return to work, but once again my muse had vanished.

The creativity that had oozed from the stitching atop the desk had congealed, stemming the flow of my immortal genius. My torrential output of poetic prose had been replaced with a white-hot flow of homicidal anger. I tore the fruit from the walls and hurled the frames to the floor.

I kicked and screamed until my throat burned and my legs gave out. I struck the glossy floor face first, glass from the frames digging into my cheek. I could feel blood, hot and thick, running down my neck, soaking my shirt. I was going to die. I giggled in the spreading pool of blood, contemplating the irony in the mortal death of a literary deity, a truly Achillean phenomenon. Slowly, the room faded into darkness.

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This article has 174 comments.

on Dec. 25 2009 at 5:02 pm
Darkchloe14 BRONZE, Memphis, Tennessee
1 article 0 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be Strong"

How did you come up with that?! That was unbelievable. You have a sophisticated writing style. Keep up the good work!

on Dec. 25 2009 at 4:57 pm
CanYouSeeTheCrazy PLATINUM, Cle Elum, Washington
21 articles 0 photos 125 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I know why everyone in this world is so desperate to find love."
"Oh yeah? Why then?"
"Because, it's the closest thing we have to magic."

i feel the same way. every time i get the block, i just kind of go blank, and then i realize why. and every time i get it, i try to do something totally random, like go on a bike ride, or read articles on here, or go and roll in the snow with my brother, anything to get me away from that paper. doing totally random and fun stuff usually gets my mind off writer's block and back on the words that i'm writing again. =)

on Dec. 3 2009 at 3:11 pm
potterlight PLATINUM, Cleveland, Ohio
32 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
That makes sense

I can't tell you how many times I want to kill myself when I get writer's block! Ugh! It's the worst thing!

snc947 GOLD said...
on Dec. 3 2009 at 1:16 pm
snc947 GOLD, Swansboro, North Carolina
15 articles 10 photos 40 comments
whoa. This is great! good job on gettin published and this article just made my "favorites" list! I have one question. Did u really have to kill him off?

on Nov. 11 2009 at 8:07 pm
literaryaddict PLATINUM, Albuquerque, New Mexico
23 articles 3 photos 157 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We're almost there and no where near it. All that matters is that we're going." Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
"The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound." Lady Bracknell, The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde

wow. it was a great story!!! how in the world did you come up with the idea for it??

on Nov. 11 2009 at 1:00 pm
morgie7<3 PLATINUM, Tremont, Illinois
34 articles 0 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
~Michael Jordan

Congrats on getting published! Five stars! :)

on Oct. 20 2009 at 9:20 pm
very_literary SILVER, Ballwin, Missouri
7 articles 0 photos 46 comments
WOW!!!!!! This was amazing! It really hit the exact feeling that one feels when they get a writer's block. This article definitely deserved to be published in the magazine. This was one of my favorites. All I can say is WOW!!

RLJoy DIAMOND said...
on Oct. 20 2009 at 6:46 pm
RLJoy DIAMOND, Glen Rock, New Jersey
56 articles 0 photos 86 comments
OMG I loved it! This was written so well! Congrats on being published!!!!!!!!

on Oct. 20 2009 at 5:08 pm
chartothalatte GOLD, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
10 articles 1 photo 62 comments
Holy shiz. This is crazy. I loved it. It hurt to have to stop reading when my dad asked me a question. Chico, I love this. You, my friend, have a gift. An amazing, crazy gift that many of us young writers would kill for. Wow. :D

seapenguin said...
on Oct. 18 2009 at 2:37 am
seapenguin, Healdsburg, California
0 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
I'm a super hero, but with no powers or motivation.

For some reason, this has always been my favorite article on this website. You, my dear, are amaaaaazing. :)

Anton BRONZE said...
on Sep. 27 2009 at 8:57 pm
Anton BRONZE, N Riverside, Illinois
3 articles 0 photos 3 comments
The sensitive and descriptive emotion that came across the writing was truly exquisit. I really wanted to read more. The description in the bginning really caught my eye.

Schubster said...
on Sep. 27 2009 at 6:58 pm
I like the voice of the work.....the narration is superb! The only thing I would lessen up on is the descriptions some, since I like action...but that's only me. Other than that, fantastic job and a great ending! :)

check out my work?

resilva BRONZE said...
on Aug. 12 2009 at 10:14 pm
resilva BRONZE, Jacksonville, Florida
3 articles 0 photos 11 comments
Delightfully exaggerated and bitterly funny, a great piece. The reoccuring metaphor with the pomegranate was a nice touch too (at least I think it was a metaphor, and I think I get it).

on May. 16 2009 at 5:28 pm
Inkspired PLATINUM, Whitby, Other
26 articles 0 photos 493 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If one will scoff at the study of language, how, save in terms of language, will one scoff?" - Mario Pei
"I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die." Isaac Asimov

AMAZING!! A wonderful piece of work, so descriptive and full of imagination. However, you left a little bit out with Chad. What was bugging him? That she didn't really say thanks? Otherwise, I LOVE IT!!

IndigoInk said...
on May. 14 2009 at 10:35 pm
um...it was like this. I adored it. The exaggeration and delicious sarcasm I applaud. Enthusiasm and energy raged through the entire piece. Bravo, bravo. I really wouldn't even have minded that he died except for that it seemed like a frustrated grope toward a deadline instead of an assailant art. Basically, I think the ending trainwrecked the piece. I think the pacing was off, expecially since the rest of the piece was so tastefully light and static. The idea was fantastic though, the crazy immortal writer dies of pure mortality. Overall, though, splendid work. I hope to read more of you!

jnewman said...
on Apr. 28 2009 at 11:20 pm
jnewman, Jacksonville, Florida
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Nice well i know what to do when writer's block comes, kill myself.

Chrissy_L GOLD said...
on Apr. 23 2009 at 8:39 pm
Chrissy_L GOLD, Ramsey, New Jersey
13 articles 0 photos 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

Wow, the main character is a little psychotic, but it is a really good piece of writing!

on Apr. 22 2009 at 3:48 pm
Mr.Knightley BRONZE, Strafford, New Hampshire
2 articles 1 photo 5 comments
I don't think the ending RUINED it, but it definitely could have been better...

brunette3913 said...
on Apr. 20 2009 at 11:36 pm
brunette3913, Apex, North Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 8 comments
the ending ruined it.

tinkerbell said...
on Apr. 13 2009 at 5:25 pm
WOW! i really liked this story so dramatic! keep up the great work nd the way u described things was perfect! i really loved it, killer ending=]