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I'm a sentence away from postal -- from chucking my computer at the wall and stomping on it until its guts are embedded in the soles of my feet. I want to set it on fire and breathe in the toxic fumes until my brain goes all fuzzy. And -- when I recover -- I want to pummel the charred corpse of my computer with a really big stick and throw whatever's left in the blender and then the microwave, because nothing drives me battier than the troll in the blank page -- the invisible bitch who screams in my face "you have nothing of value to fill in the void."

I often feel like Sesame Street's Don Music, who slammed his head against the piano and sobbed hysterically over any little mistake or unforeseen challenge.

My writing self is a bipolar monster with claws and fangs. She swears a lot and shouts out nonsensical words like "gr-gr-gr-gr-gr-gr-gr-gr" and "aarg" like maybe she's eating a pirate. She nags me on the bus with the what-are-you-going-to-write-abouts and points to the wall-sized clock in my brain that instead of time tracks every story I've failed to put down on paper.

I hate her.

She assaults me in my office -- drags me kicking and screaming outside where I pace around a concrete planter in the middle of a busy courtyard unaware that I'm talking to myself until somebody breaks my concentration with a forced cough or a nervous glance that begs "Please don't shoot me, lady."

My thumb and pinky finger see-saw from spacebar to backspace, while I wrack my brain for a topic worth covering. And nothing -- spare the angry gestures and swearing -- ever comes.

The Unconscious Takes Over
"The unconscious mind takes the germ of an idea and develops it, but usually this happens only when a writer has tried hard, and logically, to develop it himself. After he has given it up for a few hours, getting nowhere, a great advancement of the plot will pop into his head. I have been waked up in the night sometimes by a plot advancement or a solution of a problem that I had not even been dreaming about."



    and scene.


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