WRITER’S BLOCKPosted August 10th, 2011 by Thomas Norman DeWolf
Some days, writing flows like manna from heaven. I wake up before day with a mental sheaf of ideas rustling in my head. Whole sentences, already formed into grammatically correct paragraphs, clamour to be presented on a page. All I have to do is boot up the computer in time to capture the rush of content before it dissipates into one of those dreams we can never remember.
Then, there are days… and days…. and days…. when I just can’t get anything out.
I sit at the computer and stare at the screen. I check Facebook 99 times an hour. I get involved with the stunning news reports of the day: Riots in England; murders in Mississippi; helping The Help; brooding over my finances (or lack thereof); emailing people I haven’t talked to in years, just to say hello; combing the dog. When those diversions don’t work, I go into my garden to check my tomatoes; water the flowers and whack weeds.
My current mission is to draft Chapter 6. Tom is working on Chaper 7. We have mutually committed to switch drafts on Friday. It is this disciplined approach that keeps the machine that culminates in our book rolling onward to our delivery date in December. These two chapters will get us halfway to the end.
Maybe it’s the topic. This week, I am writing about “mercy.” The preceding section, which we completed more than a month ago, was on “truth.” Mercifully, the truth section tumbled out of my head like a waterfall, perhaps in tribute to Albert Camus’ statement that “Acknowledging the truth will conquer it.” My writing during that time proved his observation beyond doubt. Today, the truth is that I am having a really hard time conquering mercy. Knowing that mercy starts as an individual act that has ripples for everyone else, I long for an act of grace to get me over the mental hurdle of actually writing about it. There is so much going on in the world that cries out for truth, mercy and justice (which is the next section of the book).
I just heard the “bing” of a new email message. I can read that, check Facebook one more time, tune in BBC to see if the streets are still on fire and then… MAYBE I can do what I am really supposed to be doing. Failing that, maybe I’ll take a nap!
Eastern Mennonite University
Harlem Book Fair
Phillis Wheatley Book Award
Post Racial Society
Summer Peacebuilding Institute
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