Sometimes when I can’t think of anything to write about, I’ll try to sort of just punch my way out of it. I’ll give myself a ridiculously small time limit to get something on paper. Or sometimes I’ll have a lot of time, but I’ll waste the majority of it not being able to come up with anything to write about. And then I’ll only have like twenty minutes left. And all of the sudden I really feel the pressure to get something down. So I’ll just write. That’s what I’m doing right now. I think I already wrote about this like a week ago.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes when my brain is feeling the clock ticking, it’ll just spit something out. And I’ll be typing furiously. If you could do a close up shot of just my eyes, with my eyes at the bottom of the screen, and in the middle of the screen there are my eyebrows, you’d see my brow furrowed in a panicked sort of forced concentration. There would be drops of perspiration just about to fall onto my nose. Focus doesn’t usually come naturally to me. Every once in a while I’ll be talking to someone at work, and I’ll just kind of be on autopilot, nodding my head yes and no at all the right places. But then maybe there will be too long of a pause, and I’ll realize maybe I was asked a question. And the person will say, “Are you paying attention?” and then I have to act all offended and mildly pissed off. “Of course I was paying attention! How dare you!” but I probably wouldn’t have been paying any attention at all.
My brain only agrees to really think about something if there’s an outside force really telling it to. Like a ticking clock. Like I just said like twice already. Nothing gets my attention like the fear of running out of time. Rewards and treats also seem to do the trick. But since I’m usually the one rewarding myself, my brain will more often than not bypass the system, reasoning that there’s really nothing preventing me from rewarding myself even though I haven’t completed the task I set out to finish to earn the reward. Because, I mean the whole task reward thing is arbitrary. And then I’ll be sitting there, rewarded, but still with work to do. And for some reason I’m always ready for a nap after a reward.
But sometimes it does work and I’ll write something that surprises me, not necessarily because it’s good, but because it came from somewhere within me and I really didn’t even pay attention to where the topic came from or where the ideas flowed from or how I even managed to get out a whole page of text at all. And I’ll just sit there, arms folded, patting myself on the back for a job well done. I think.
But a lot of the time when I force something out I’ll look back and cringe in embarrassment. Am I really capable of writing such garbage? One memorable example: I started writing this nonsense post about a month ago about how I had a dream where I was skiing and I got lost and I don’t even know where I wanted to go with it. I was just hoping that if I kept pulling stuff out of my ass, something would wind up being funny. But it wasn’t funny at all. Or even remotely interesting. I just finished it and put it away for a while. And when it was time to edit it and put it on the blog I got physically sick. It was terrible. I’m rereading what I’m writing right now and even this paragraph is terrible, and I think it’s just from association, just by mentioning that shitty dream story that didn’t go anywhere.
And sometimes I’ll be so starved for ideas that I’ll just write about how empty my mind is, how I can’t come up with anything. And I just say to myself, just get a page done, just one, and then at least you’ll have it done. And I’ll think, I’ll never put this up. It’s so boring. Who the hell wants to read about me talking about how I can’t think of anything to write about? How many more times am I going to put everyone through this?