Tag Archives: nothing

Fear of writing

Every once in a while I get afraid, like that’s it, like I’ve written all that I’m ever going to write, that the best is behind me, and that from here on out, it’s all going to be derivative nonsense. And this fear is always with me to some extent, I mean, I’m not doing this professionally yet, I’m still for the most part writing during my free time, before work, after work, on my days off.

And I’ve been doing it long enough that, well, hopefully I’ve improved somewhat, just through the day-to-day practice. Yeah, I know that I can put words down on a page on a regular basis. But is what I’m doing any good? That I can never really tell. I know that I’ve had stuff in the past fly out of my fingertips, stories that I don’t even know where they came from.

And I’ve had stretches of time where that mysterious sense of creation happened on a daily basis. Of course there’s the flipside to that, where I go on and on for days or weeks and I feel like I don’t have anything new to say, kind of like right now. I’ve been sitting here at the computer since last night. I was committed to writing something, anything. And now it’s the morning and I have nothing to show for it. I don’t know why. Everything was coming up empty.

Finally I decided to just get anything down, which is this, I’m really just kind of going off on how I can’t think of anything to write about right now, about how I’m worried that I’ll never be able to get in that groove again. It’s crazy because even when I don’t have anything specific to say, I still have that feeling inside, like I need to be sitting down at my computer, like something’s about to bubble up, right below the surface.

But, and I don’t know if this is going to make any sense, a lot of the time I’ll feel the ideas down there, but they never breach through to my conscious mind. And so I’m left just kind of sitting at the computer, ready to write, willing to put words down, but unable to make that first step. It’s very similar to that feeling when you have a sneeze coming, you feel it, you scrunch up your face and bring your hand to your mouth. And then nothing. That’s it. It goes away and you’re left with a sense that you just missed out on something.

There are so many more things that I want to do. I’d love to write a comic book, to write a longer short story, eventually a novel. And then I get to days like this where I can’t even get a page down to put on my blog, and that feeling is just so frustrating. Maybe I’m putting too much weight on this blog. I’m conflicted, because I haven’t missed a day in about two years now, and so I don’t want to break that streak. It gives me that added sense of urgency, like right now, when I can’t think of anything, at least I’ll get something, and even if it’s terrible, I don’t know, maybe I need to be willing to just put down something stupid in order to get back to not taking myself too seriously.

I could go on and on forever, overanalyzing this, rationalizing that. I have no idea what’s going on. But it feels like working out, like when I’m training for a race. Some days I’ll go out there and the runs will be so easy. Other days I’ll struggle just to get the bare minimum done. There are so many different factors that go into exercise, writing, working, everything. There’s the time of day, how much I’ve eaten, am I well rested enough?

I don’t know. I’m glad I got this out, because even though it doesn’t seem like much, it was a big deal for me just to get some writing done. I’ve just got to chill out. I’ve just got to ignore that fear, the voice telling me that I don’t have what it takes, that maybe I’ve written some cool stuff in the past, but that was it, and now it’s just going to be boring paragraph after boring paragraph for the rest of my life.

At least I’ve got this

I get so worried that I won’t be able to come up with anything to write about. This anxiety is most acute when I open up a brand new Word document, I hit the full screen viewing mode so as to block off any other stimuli, and the result, for a second anyway, before I type out the first word, is me staring at this glowing white rectangle, just pure LCD light positioned not even a foot away from my face.

Maybe that’s the source of a lot of my worry, that I have to stare at this screen. Is it any different than staring at a blank piece of paper? I like to think that it’s different, that if I were living ages ago and I made up my mind to write something, that there’d be a lot less pressure for me not to waste my time. If a minute goes by and I haven’t thought of anything to write about, that’s fine, that’s just a minute. But two minutes, five minutes, my eyes are already starting to hurt from staring into this flat screen light bulb.

Ten minutes and I’m starting to sweat. The feeling that I’m getting when I can’t come up with anything is somewhat familiar. I love to draw, but I never really pursued it like I did writing. To a big extent, I was never able to get past that fear of a blank page.

I guess fear is a strong word, I don’t want to come across as dramatic or anything. But even as a little kid, I’d get out my crayons or colored pencils or whatever, I’d lay everything out just right, and then I’d wind up staring at a piece of white, not really sure how to get going. Invariably I’d wind up drawing some version of Spider-Man, a kind of tic, like instead of facing that fear, that feeling like I’m not good enough for the page, I just put down anything.

It’s still one of my go-to drawings, Spider-Man. It’s one with the muscle memory of my right hand. I could probably draw a pretty decent Spider-Man if I were blindfolded. Which isn’t really saying anything, not about drawing, or making anything. It’s just a way of dealing with the fact that a lot of the time I have no idea what I’m doing, or even what I’m supposed to be doing.

I guess writing about not having anything to write about is kind of like the written equivalent of those Spider-Man doodles. It’s a trick that I fall back on way too often. For every one of these posts that make it up on this blog, there are at least five or ten that thankfully never see the light of day. But it’s just something that I have to work through. Often it’s mandated by time constraints. For example, I have to work a double shift at the restaurant today, and so in order to get any writing done, I had to wake up early, sit myself down, commit myself to moving my fingers for a fixed amount of time.

Talk about pressure, I don’t have a moment to stare out the window, let my mind wander. No, I’ve got to get going. If these two hours pass by and I don’t have any work to show for it, it’ll drive me nuts the rest of the day. It’ll make me question whether or not I have what it takes to be a professional writer.

It’s better than nothing, that’s what I have to tell myself about writing like this, that I’d rather have something shitty than nothing at all. And I guess I can live with that, knowing that I at least made use of my time, that I forced myself to sit down and crank out something tangible, something that I can look back on and maybe use as motivation for a future date when I struggle to get words down on the page.

I’ll think, well, I did it then. Certainly whatever I put down now can’t be any worse than that. Right? And that’s something. It’s definitely not nothing. At the very least, whatever happens with the rest of my day, at least I’ve got this.

I can’t think of anything to write about

I’ve been staring at this computer screen for almost an hour and I can’t come up with anything to write about. This whole day has kind of been a nothing day so far. It’s raining out, and so I used that as an excuse to not go exercise, to not leave the house at all really. I should have. There are a bunch of errands that I need to take care of, stuff that’s no further than around the corner really.

Like back in November, I ordered this piece of running gear from Amazon. I was planning on using it for the New York City Marathon, but it didn’t show up in time. Way after the race, the Postal Service told me that they’d lost the package, and that they weren’t going to be paying for it either.

Then a month after that, I got an email from the seller. Apparently my package came from China, and they were going to try sending it again. But I got the same problem this time around, that it was being held at the Post Office, that I’d have to go in and wait on line and pick it up. I should just do it, it’s so easy. Every single day, I think to myself, I should just go to the Post Office and pick it up.

But I never do, even when it’s not raining. I guess I’ve been burned by the Post Office too many times to want to waste any more of my day waiting on a really long line that ultimately ends in me not getting my package. But each day that passes, I think there’s some sort of a holding deadline, like after thirty or sixty days, they’re going to send it back to China.

I don’t know why they just didn’t tell me it was going to be such a huge deal to ship a compression running shirt. Honestly, I would have never elected to have something shipped individually from China. It sounds like a logistical nightmare, and the fact that I ordered this thing back in October shows that my worries were warranted.

But I’m not doing anything about the problem, I’m just kind of stuck in this cycle of inaction, me not leaving the house, me sitting here try to get some writing done. I can’t think of anything. Maybe leaving the house would jog the creative process or something.

Or, another errand that I keep pushing off, I need to go to the tailor and have all of my pants fixed. I didn’t realize it, but they way that the seat is oriented on my bicycle, it keeps rubbing up on my inner leg every time I pedal. And so recently I noticed that there’s a hole in every pair of pants that I own, right on my left inner thigh. It’s in a weird enough spot that it doesn’t really stand out. But I can feel the air there, it’s definitely annoying. And holes just keep getting bigger. So I should go and have it patched up.

It’s the same with my shirts for work. I kept ripping them, all in the same spot, and so for a while now I’ve only had one shirt. Every day I have to keep doing the same micro-load of laundry. It’s totally inefficient. I know that I’m wasting water and stuff. But I can’t get myself to get some more. This is probably the problem with the easiest solution. And yet day after day, I find another twenty-four hours has passed where I haven’t done anything.

When I’m working, I’ll tell myself that I’ll wait to get my errands done on a day off. And then when that day off finally arrives, I say to myself, come on Rob, you don’t want to spend your free time doing errands. Save that for a workday.

And that’s it, I never take care of any of my problems. At best, I sit here and complain about my inaction on the Internet. And nobody wants to read that. It’s totally boring. But I can’t think of anything else today. My mind is a total blank and I just want to put up something, anything. Here it is. I apologize if you’ve read this far down.

I know this is boring

I think I’m out of ideas. Yup. The best is behind me, everything that needs to be said, well, I’ve already said it, and that’s on top of all of the other stuff that totally didn’t need to be said, of which I’ve already said a lot. But that was that, said, done. All that’s left is to keep on going, saying anything, keep on keeping on as if I’ve got something, when really, nothing.


Like, what can I talk about, lunch? I had McDonald’s. I think I’ve already talked way too much about McDonald’s. So, yeah, I’m also drinking a cup of coffee. Nothing like a cup of hot coffee. Look, I know this is boring, and I could apologize, but what good would that do? I’ve said sorry before, it hasn’t changed anything, or added anything relevant to the discussion.

Nothing left to do but talk about how I have to go to work in a little while. Does anybody else have to work? Or is it just me? Me and all of the people that I work with. Is that it? That’s not much of a workforce. Maybe we’d make a good pro football team. Not in terms of skill or anything like that, but just getting a whole team fielded, and then backups ready. Or soccer I guess, yeah, there are a lot of people on a soccer team. But nobody ever wants to be goalie, and for some reason I find it so much more rewarding imagining all of the people I work with every day lining up to protect me from the onslaught of opposing linemen.

Because I’m definitely the quarterback in that fantasy. Whether or not my coworkers would agree with me, well, I guess they’re entitled to their own fantasies also. And since this is my fantasy, I don’t know why I’m settling for football, I can barely even throw a football. I mean, I can get it from point A to point B, or somewhere in the general vicinity of point B, but it’s never a nice throw, I’d say maybe one out of thirty times it’ll come close to that perfect spiral, the kind of smooth torpedo that everybody else in the world somehow seems to accomplish almost effortlessly. But mine are all topsy-turvy.

And that’s not even a real regulation sized football. I always thought the footballs in my parents’ garage were like pro footballs, but one time I came across an NFL sized football at the Sports Authority, and I could barely hold it with one hand. And I have giant hands. No, no more football fantasies. From here on out, I mean, I’ve got nothing to say anyway, so it’s right back to sci-fi fantasies, it’s me, I’m the captain of a gigantic spaceship, and all of those same coworkers that were defending me on the field before, this time they’re manning Ops, rushing toward battle stations or preparing the torpedoes for launch. “Ay-ay captain!” they’ll respond, sometimes just at random, like they won’t even have to necessarily wait for an order to say, “Ay-ay captain!” that’ll be something that’s encouraged on my ship, just say it whenever you feel like it.

Even my boss. Especially my boss. Maybe he’s cut out to be the boss at work, but on my ship, I’m the boss. And I’d call him boss still, but as a really ironic nickname, like, “Hey boss, remember when we were all back on Earth? How you used to be in charge? Haha. Go make sure there isn’t any space mold in between the engineering conduits.”

Or, I don’t know, that’s a lot of responsibility, managing that big of a crew. And in space. Maybe I’d prefer one of those really small boats, not tiny, but just big enough for one cabin inside, something quaint. I’d have cable still, but no Internet. Just me, the eternal ocean, and the incessant chatter of all of the twenty-four hour news channels. All of them, right-wing, left-wing, British, whatever, I’d watch a different channel every day and I’d try my best to completely alter my opinions accordingly, like not just an act, I’d see if I could really get myself to believe in whatever they were saying. I’d have plenty of time, and nobody to talk me out of it.

But then what if one of the channels started running specials, “This just in. Never, ever, ever watch another cable news channel, ever again, only us,” and even though I do my best to believe, sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t, but for whatever reason on this day I really nail it, I so thoroughly absorb that message, I’m like, yes, just this channel forever.

But wasn’t I on a ship? I don’t know. Maybe the cable is too much. And maybe it’s a submarine. Although, I’m kind of tall, so I’d need one where I’m not constantly ducking underneath all sorts of low hanging pipes. And yeah I guess you need a pretty big crew for a submarine. Maybe I could just be like a consultant, or a VIP guest, nobody could boss me around, but I wouldn’t have to worry about management. And again, lots of headroom. I’ve banged my head on pipes before, and it sucks, it really, really hurts.


I can’t think of anything to write about. I had the whole day off today, I got up really early in the morning, totally committed to getting a bunch of writing done, but I’ve just been stuck here in this chair, unable to make sense of the sheer amount of time I’ve been sitting here not getting anything done. I don’t know how to turn it on. This happens sometimes. It’s incredibly frustrating.


On my really good days, I’ll have too many ideas, not enough time to turn all of those wild thoughts into actual stories. But then today, man, I’m just drawing a total blank. Even getting through this sentence is torture. It’s like, this is an absolute last resort, I wind up doing it about every month or so, my bank of ideas will be completely empty, and so I’ll force myself to write something like this, something about not having anything to write about, just to get it out of me, just to get past whatever it is that’s clogging up the idea pipes in my head.

Idea pipes, that was kind of creative, I guess. It was different at least. Aside from that phrase, all of my thoughts today have been very boring. It’s like there’s a skeleton crew manning my thoughts, permitting only the most basic of impulses and instincts, like going downstairs to make myself another snack, or drinking another cup of coffee.

It always happens on my days off too. If I’m working, I have to leave for the restaurant at around four, and so there are always these two really productive hours right before I have to head out the door, it’s like I can feel each second ticking away, and so, I don’t know, maybe it’s the pressure, maybe my thought process is sort of jolted into action.

Holy shit, I’m not even making any progress on this. I can’t believe I’m only like halfway through. What am I going to write about for another three or four more paragraphs? Earlier in the day I used this app that I bought to shut off the Internet for a preordained amount of time. I set the timer for two hours, thinking, OK, this will clear my head of any distractions, I’ll be less likely to waste time if I can’t think about everything else I could be doing online.

And as soon as clicked it on, I started to get really tired, like I tried writing out some writing exercises, but I was falling asleep midsentence. I thought, OK, maybe a little siesta will be just the trick into rebooting my imagination. So I went to lay down, and when I woke up, it was dark out, I was freezing. I heard this timer go off on my computer, it was the app, the two hours had expired. Was that my brain’s way of punishing me for trying to deny it its Internet? It was like, fine, you don’t want to go online? Here you go, two-hour nap.

At least I’m past the halfway point here. Whereas at the beginning, I couldn’t imagine ever getting to all the way down here, at least now I know I’m going to finish it. But at what cost? I mean, this whole thing is basically unreadable. And it’s going to be even worse, weeks from now when it’s time to give this another read through, to put it up on the blog, I’ll think, Jesus, what the hell is this garbage? But you know, trying to get something up every day, sometimes I don’t have the luxury of being so selective. That puts way too much pressure on the writing process, if I start getting too picky about what’s good and what’s bad, I’ll eventually think everything’s bad, that nothing’s worth being posted, it’ll just spiral worse and worse.

No, I think it’s good, to put something absolutely terrible up here every once in a while. It’s good for me, not for anybody else. At least I know it’s terrible going in. It’s not like thinking I’m putting up something great only to read it back later and go, oh man, this is awful, why did I think it was so good? No, I’ll put this up, I’ll do it on a Sunday when people are less likely to be online, I’ll hope that nobody ever reads it, and I’ll go on with my life, comfortable in the knowledge that I’m OK with polluting the Internet with another seven hundred or so words of illegible nonsense. And hopefully tomorrow I’ll get at least one creative thought, like that one time I wrote about being a space waiter. Man, that was a good one. I have no idea where that came from.