Back In The Saddle Again

March 27, 1998
  I don't want to jinx myself, but tribute must be paid: Praise the Muse, the drought has ended.

I've mentioned it in passing here and only hinted at the depth of my frustration, but I've been good and truly blocked on the Frasier spec I've been trying to write. I had the basic idea down, but kept getting stuck on how to develop it. I'd sit down to work on it, get jammed up because I couldn't get a handle on it, give up to try again later, then procrastinate as only I can before I sat down to work on it again. Repeat as necessary.

I've been repeating this for freakin' months. I don't think I've ever been this blocked on an idea, ever. I hope never to be again. It's been so bad that I've entertained the notion of giving up writing completely, maybe going into a career as an Urban Sanitation Engineer. But because I hate giving up on anything I kept going back to it, banging my head against the wall. I also entertained the notion of deep-sixing the original idea and going with something else, but because I hate giving up on anything (a mixed blessing in this case) I refused and persevered with what wasn't working. It's been making my life miserable. I've felt like a no-talent bum when I was working on it and a wannabe when I was avoiding it. It's been with me just about every minute of every day, either frustrating me as I worked on it or making me feel guilty when I wasn't. It hasn't been pretty, and it hasn't made me very nice to be around. For months.

Well. I finally pulled my head out of my ass, and that seems to have been the blockage. Last week I tabled my never-give-up streak long enough to develop a new story idea, just as a creative exercise, you understand, and lo and behold I came up with something I could work with. Of course I immediately stuck my head back up my ass and went back to struggling with the idea that wasn't working. It was just an exercise, you understand, it's not like I was giving up on the first idea. But the "genie" wouldn't go back into the "bottle," at least not as firmly. As I struggled with the idea that wasn't working I kept thinking about the one that did until I realized that, never-give-up be damned, it's about time I stopped spinning my wheels and moved forward. So now I've officially given up on the first idea -- for the time being, at least -- and I'm working on the new idea.

So now I'm writing again. Finally. And pardon me for a bit of self-flagellation for a moment or three, but I'm a fucking moron for taking this long to get here. Now that I'm working again, I've written six pages so far today that seem pretty solid as they stand and I think I'll be able to get four or five more down before I pack it in for the night. It's good, and it's shooting out of me like... Well, like something under high pressure that's been blocked for awhile but now, thanks to ... oh, let's say Ex-Lax, for example ... is now free.

"Never give up, even when it's killing you." Moron.

Copyright © 1998
Chuck Atkins