Tag Archives: writer’s block


When I was young my father used to tell me the story of a professor who, after a lengthy absence—perhaps years—finally returned to the classroom, and began his lecture with “However, . .” You may know the story. I failed to find it on the internets, and my father, now 81, is on the road working, and I hesitate to interrupt him.

Four months since my last blog post, I shall begin this one with “Moreover, . . .”

The Word Nymph last laid on you a tale of woe, of illness and death and, my apologies, it has hung out here like a slab of decaying flesh since Memorial Day. Anyone visiting this place has read of my husband’s and my medical mysteries, our friend in the ICU, the passing of a cousin, and other sharp stones the universe has flung in our path.

Moreover, the friend died after seven months in the ICU, while the cousin’s brother died suddenly four months later, followed by two additional losses in the same family. A friend here and there also left this place and, sadly, there are others in the queue. Moreover, my mother is struggling to recover from a terrible tumble she took in August.

If you’ve become acquainted with the people I spoke of on May 31, you’ll be happy to know that the babies born four months premature are home and healthy as of this past week. I know I am.

As for my husband and me, we’re doing better. My body is functioning at full throttle and my husband’s brain waves, according to that zany take-home EEG, are hunky-dory.

I continue to suffer from a severe case of creative writer’s block, long unsuccessful at keeping the technical and scientific writing I do in my day job from infecting the right chamber, but we’ll get back to it, I promise.

However, I do have a new concern about my husband; perhaps you have some advice.

The last two mornings, I’ve gone downstairs to find him, instead of watching the news as usual, listening to the Carpenters’ greatest hits.

By the way, I know I misused “Moreover.” I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.


Filed under Family and Friends, Health, Music

Part-timers disease

Now then.

More than two months ago, I announced here that I’d be letting out a little slack in the blog, to free up mental energy for a busy work season. I was buckling down to pressing obligations and, until those were tended to satisfactorily, there’d be no time for frivolous writing. Big mistake.

If you’re wondering how my September 23 resolutions turned out, I indeed completed the work, meeting all deadlines. To top that off, I pulled off the largest closet cleaning in 20 years.

Then, I erected more barriers. Believing I couldn’t clear my head enough to get my blogging groove back if obligations remained, I addressed, signed and stuffed 230 Christmas cards and finished 95 percent of my shopping. I even have most of my out-of-town packages ready to go in the mail.

But every time I sat down to tap out what used to be a free-flowing daily ditty, my skin itched. My teeth clenched.

Oh, sure, I’ve sneezed out a handful of posts this month, but they’re not my best work. And they’ve troubled me all the more for their awkward sparseness.

In an attempt to reverse my blog atrophy, I spent yesterday afternoon re-reading my blog posts of last November and December. I didn’t even recognize the writing.

This setback has proven the validity something my father once said. Over the last few years, people asked if he had considered shifting his writing and performance schedule into a lower gear. His answer was always that part time doesn’t work. The frenetic schedule kept him sharp and productive and able to maintain the rhythm. I see now that he was absolutely right.

(To give equal time, my mother suggested that, if I cleaned out my closets, things might flow more freely in other areas of my life. She too was right.)

Today is the first Monday of the season of Advent. Yesterday our priest encouraged us to take up renewed discipline—of the spiritual kind. I do intend to do that and, now that I’m ahead on many of my Christmas preparations, I might even have energy left to artificially resuscitate my inner Erma Bombeck, William Safire, Roseanne Roseannadanna, or whoever else I feel like being this season. Maybe even myself.

Did I really begin with “Now then?” That makes no sense.


Filed under Family and Friends, Holidays, Marketing/Advertising/PR, Technology and Social Media


I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I seem to have hit a little slump.

There have been days recently when I didn’t post a blog entry, in part for lack of time and in part for lack of inspiration. Also, lately, I feel that my writing lacks the energy it used to have and I don’t want to subject readers to lethargic dronings.

I’ve been at this blogging project for 16 months now, having written 385 pieces. Inspiration used to rush at me faster than I could mash it into the keyboard. Lately? Not so much.

Over the weekend, I tackled a small writing project that gave me the same sense of paralysis. Eventually I found the energy to hand in to the client what I think was good work, but not without teeth-grinding anxiety.

This isn’t like me.

As I researched punctuation for Friday’s post, I came upon an interesting perspective on writer’s block. Then another one. Both jumped to the same conclusion: Essentially, quitcherbitchin.

Here’s what author Philip Pullman said in 2006 on the subject of writer’s block:

“Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block, and doctors don’t get doctor’s block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expects sympathy for it?”

A bass player named Paul Wolfe wrote a piece recently on his blog, which worked from the same premise—that there’s no such thing as writer’s block—also using the plumber analogy. It’s worth a glance if you can relate.

So if there is no such thing as writer’s block, what has gotten a hold of me?

When I approached my recent client project, you would have thought I had decided to try skydiving. Profound fear consumed me.

I moved my computer from my office to the dining room table so I’d have room to spread out and to breathe. I set my papers out neatly. I took a shower. I returned to the computer. I straightened some knickknacks. I sat up straight, put my fingers on the keyboard and took a deep breath. I opened a six-ounce box of SweeTarts, sifted through the candies and ate all the purple and orange ones. Then I arranged the blue ones along the edge of the box, then the red, then the green. By this time my stomach was in my throat and my heart was racing. Utter silliness. This was easy stuff, nothing complicated. As soon as I typed the first word, the others came, but it took me more than eight hours to finish. It was touch and go there for a while.

So it goes with the blog. I don’t wake up with ideas and words to support them the way I used to.

The bass player says if you believe in writer’s block, then it wins. Pullman doesn’t believe in it either.

So maybe it’s just an old fashioned case of jitters.

Maybe I ought to lay off the SweeTarts.

Or maybe it just boils down to this bumper sticker:


Filed under Marketing/Advertising/PR, Technology and Social Media

Feed me

I’ve been at this blog experiment for almost 11 months now and I’ll be honest, there are times when utter panic sets in.

Within my six-days-a-week writing schedule, anxiety over coming up with a topic takes hold about three times a week. Usually, after taking a pause and deep breath, sometimes walking away, the light bulb comes on—sometimes a really dim bulb—and the writing flows.

One of my greatest concerns about writing so frequently is that the content will become diluted or seem forced. And often it does.

When Word Nymph was born in March of last year, it was fun. It was new. The ideas and the writing flowed effortlessly. Today, I’ve sat here for hours, staring at a blank screen, having scoured newspapers, magazines, my bookcase, my imagination and all my online sources. Nada.

Just as my palms got clammy and my heart raced to a frightening clip, I remembered a blog post my cousin pointed me to earlier in the week. It made me feel better and worse at the same time.

This remarkable blogger, writing under the name of The Digital Cuttlefish, articulated graphically the challenges of keeping up with a daily blog. In a post entitled The Care and Feeding of Dragons, the writer first puts forth an unattributed quote:  “A blog is like a dragon. You have to feed it all the time and sometimes you get burned.”

In the post, Mr. or Ms. Cuttlefish hit the nail on the head. Blogging is easy at first. But, like the dragon, this beast must be fed, preferably a meaty and steady diet, or it will eat you alive.

I took a tiny bit of comfort in Cuttlefish’s words because I no longer felt alone in my anxiety. Also, Cuttlefish put a face to my fear with this hungry dragon.

Once I finished reading the Dragon post and scrolled down to get a feel for Cuttlefish’s other writings, my jaw dropped. I could no longer put myself in the company of this blogger. Yes, he/she too posts about six days a week. But every post—every single post—is written in rhyme.

I must know: What does the Digital Cuttlefish eat for breakfast?


Filed under All Things Wordish, Reading, Technology and Social Media