Monday, January 23, 2012

Writer's Block

As a writer, there's nothing more daunting than a blank piece of paper staring you back in the face.  I'm currently sitting on the couch with a glass of red wine, gazing at my empty notebook, waiting for inspiration to come.  I cut off my fingernails and got out my old Martin guitar, feeling inspired to play and write.  I'm embarrassed to admit how long it's been.  In fact, my fingers have grown soft as a baby's bottom--no more traces of chord-playing callouses.

I brushed off a layer of dust, tuned up my strings and began to practice some of the chords I've known since I got my first guitar at age 9.  And then.....nothing.  Why can't I think of anything to write about?  I'm a writer, for crying out loud!  I do this for a living.

I've had a love of country music for as long as I can remember.  I grew up listening to women lament about lost loves and broken hearts long before I had the mental capacity to grasp such a concept as a mere child.  While I've (thankfully) never experienced divorce or abusive relationships, I find that my lack of "hard living" puts serious limitations on my wealth of songwriting material.

There's a joke in country music that goes like this..."What do you get when you play a country song backward?  Your wife comes back to you, your dog comes back to life and your truck starts up again."  Everyone knows that country music is about heartache.  I think that's why I love it so much--because it tells a story.  Even if, after the song ends, you feel like you need a Prozac, it's still a great song--because it makes you feel what the singer/songwriter was trying to convey at the time it was written.  So there's tons of pressure to write a great song that makes people feel something.  Too bad I happen to be at a loss, thanks to the dreaded "writer's block."  That's why I'm currently writing a blog about having nothing to write about!

Sometimes when writer's block strikes, the best thing to do is walk away and come back to your writing later.  Well, it's been almost a week since I started writing this post and now all I have is short, ugly and unpainted fingernails--and still no new song.  I keep a notepad by my bed in case I wake up in the middle of the night and inspiration strikes.  Usually though, I find that songwriting ideas come to me at the most inopportune times, such as when I'm in the shower or driving to work.  So if you see me on the highway and my car swerves a bit into the next lane, not to worry--I'm probably just in the middle of jotting down a line or two that suddenly popped into my head before I forget it......either that, or I'm responding to a quick text message.  (Just kidding, Mom--kind of).   ; )

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