Friday, April 25, 2008

A sudden writer's block

I do not have writer's block. Now I admit I've sometimes procrastinated when faced with a difficult scene but this seldom lasts longer than one of my self lectures, such as "Look at this from a different angle," or "Stop playing games with yourself." I've written in the middle of chaos when I had four teenagers and their friends crying for attention or seeking advice. I even wrote two chapters while spending a night in a hospital waiting room while my husband had the part of his aorta where it leaves the heart replaced.

My recent experience told me I'm not immune to the curse of many writers. My son was undergoing bilateral knee replacement. I wasn't worried about his surgery, though his scheduled surgery was for noon. He didn't hit the OR until 3PM, but that's the way things go in the hospital. Knowing we would be a long time, I brought a book to read and a notebook where my latest novel is being penned. I'm one of those people who hand writes their first few drafts. At noon, I had written close to 2000 words. He had to be at the hospital at 8AM.

After a lunch break, I sat down to write. The waiting room was full of other people waiting for their loved ones to return from surgery. I opened the notebook, took out my pen and stared at the paper. The time had come to write a love scene. Mine are usually spicy. Suddenly, I knew all those people who were talking to each other, reading books and magazines were looking at me. Did they know what I was about to do? I was sure they knew. My pen stayed poised over the paper for an hour and not a word written. I knew I suffered from writer's block and none of my self lectures worked. This block lasted until 8:30 when I returned home. Now I know how other writers feel when this affliction occurs. I also learned that one doesn't write about sex when other people are watching.

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