Writer’s block: it’s a bugger.
You sit and stare at the blank screen – or, if firmly wedded to quaint tradition, the blank sheet of A4 – and you will your brain to do the business: come on, neurons, let’s be having you! I don’t have all day, and frankly I can’t be doing with you sitting around on your fat arses contemplating your navels. I need you to organise a search party and go seek out an Idea. Let’s hustle! Hup, hup, hup.
Nothing. Nada. Zip. In quiet desperation you resort to sly repetition, plagiarism and shorter paragraphs.
After all, a new paragraph is a new beginning. The lightning bolt of inspiration might be sparked by the challenge. But what if you are struck down, instead, by the dead hand of cliche? What then? What can you do when you have only the emptiness of rhetoric to get you to the end of your sentence?
You can try the new paragraph trick again, obviously, but there’s no particular reason it would work any better the second time. If anything it only goes to prove what you have suspected all along: you are up the faecal creek without the putative paddle and no amount of adjectival padding is going to improve upon either the mundanity of your metaphor or the mediocrity of your Muse. Even plonking a tad of alliteration and a couple of four or five-syllable words into the fray looks, in retrospect, like the last-gasp act of one who realises that the game is up.
Hmmm. Four or five-syllable. That doesn’t look quite right. Four-or-five-syllable. Nope. That’s hopeless. Four, or five, syllable. Quack, quack oops. Words of four or five syllables. Woeful.
Well blow me down. Not only is the search party of my mind too bloody apathetic to go out and bring me back an Idea, neatly trussed to a pole, now it’s getting all uppity and pedantic to boot. Tell you what, braincells, why don’t you just sit in front of the television with cans of beer and carp, while I go out and try to snare the prey without you?
(Yes, I am perfectly aware that I was taking a risk putting the verb “carp” right after the cans of beer. I am not going to take it back now. Let’s face it, it has eked out a few more lines and we only need a few more like that to get us, bloodied yet unbowed, to the end of the piece.)
So, the end is in sight. Just over the brow of that hill lies Salvation. The path behind us has been ill-lit and strewn with rocks, upon which we have, more than once, chanced to trip. You might say we have meandered, indeed I would not disagree were you to venture that opinion. Nevertheless we have, in a sense, prevailed. My friends, the end is near, and so I reach the penultimate paragraph.
They say it is better to travel in hope than to arrive. As we approach what should be a glorious finale, I have to confess they are right.
It’s a bugger, writer’s block.