Courier Life’s

When you have nothing to write about, write about it

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For the past five years, I have written a weekly column about anything and everything — and I must admit there were times when I couldn’t figure out what write about in advance of the dreaded deadline. As it came closer and closer, I fretted more and more about what I was going to discuss when I finally put pen to paper.

Thankfully, and just in the nick of time, as the pages were being laid out, I managed to pull a topic out of my hat and manufacture a column that I was comfortable with. No, I wouldn’t win a Pulitzer, but it would be in my comfort zone.

Unfortunately, as this week’s deadline approaches, I find that this is one of those weeks.

Hard to believe, ain’t it? After all, I’ve been on vacation for one whole week, away from the four walls, the mundane office routine, the hustle and bustle of a lengthy daily commute, and my mind should be filled with all sorts of great ideas, which should spill out like a bougainvillaea over a trellis. But nary a rant or a rave is spilling anywhere. The ninth hour has come and gone and all I can do is stare at a blank screen, without one blessed, single, solitary thought.

So what do you write about when there’s nothing left to write?

Writer’s block.

It happens to every writer who has ever written.

But what’s the cause? What must it have been like for the first writer to experience it? And exactly when was it discovered?

After a bit of research I uncovered the truth.

The condition called writer’s block first appeared when the first writer faced a deadline and couldn’t find a single solitary thought to write.

As that first chronicler of the human existence sat by his rock with flint and chisel in hand, and an anxious editor laying in wait, he stared at the blank face of his stone tablet and couldn’t figure out what the heck to put down. He thought and he thought, and still nothing presented itself.

What to do? Being an imaginative fellow, that first chronicler of the human experience came up with the concept of Writer’s Block.

It was reasonable. His stone tablet was blank and his chisel was blocked. “Eureka,” he thought. “I shall call it writer’s block.”

Don’t knock it, because his editor bought it (they all do). Even the angriest of angry old editors eventually feel sorry for writers and put down the club they hold over the head. “Don’t worry,” they say. “We can hold your column for this week.”

As the relief set in, the writer took a deep healing breath and all at once, ideas, words and thoughts began spilling out like bougainvillaea over a trellis and his writer’s block was cured.

Okay it’s a bit far fetched, but Not for Nuthin, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

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Reader Feedback

Mikayla from Texas says:
What about when you're writing a pitiful school essay, like those for state tests?

The prompt is nearly *always* "The Best Day Ever" or "A Time You Were Scared."

I always end up writing a tragic (and fictional) story about my mother's death or something dramatic.

I liked your article though, if only they would let *me* write my essay about how I don't know what to write for my essay. (:
Sept. 10, 2012, 1 pm

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