The Stuckness

I was cruising right along, minding my own business- writing, creating and pumping out printed words at a feverish rate.  Happy clients, pleased editors and even some enthusiastic readers all confirmed that hey, maybe I can do this writing thing. And then it happened. The Stuckness.

For five sluggish days, I was barely able to squeeze out a Tweet. Last night, as I was forcing out  a simple puff piece about social media trends and noticed the degree of difficulty was more akin to that of composing a dissertation on the current economic climate in Cambodia, I had to realize that I was knee-deep in the Stuckness. I call it this because of the all encompassing feeling of paralysis that I experience while I’m in the Stuckness. “Writer’s block” seems too simple and “uninspired” is too defeatist. The Stuckness is a destination. A gray, bland shithole that no quip, one-liner or tagline will get me out of. And it’s not an out and out shithole because at least that would be inspiring. No, the Stuckness feels like looking at a test pattern and waiting for the television show to come back on but knowing in your heart you might be waiting forever. Being the dramatic homosexual that I am, whenever I wind up in The Stuckness, the thought temporarily crosses my mind, “Well, here it is. It finally happened. The well has run dry. I am out of ideas. I should go apply for a job at paperclip making factory and be done with it.” Thankfully I know this is not the truth and I also realize it’s hard to write abut recovery and inspiration when I’m feeling like Eeyore waiting to refill his Cymbalta prescription.  Yet, perhaps there’s some value in The Stuckness. I picked up some classic books I’ve never read before at the library. I’m blasting random music while creating new dishes in the kitchen. We’re watching shows on Hulu and YouTube that aren’t on our usual menu. The point is creativity was here the whole time and determined to push its way out.

Being here, being stuck is something that has happened before in my career as a freelance writer. Thankfully, my job is so deadline ridden that I usually can’t pay much attention to it. I have to grab onto something and let it yank me out. Unfortunately, this was not one of those times. As I wrote and re-wrote the same dumb lines for the same dumb article, I realized what I had to do. I looked around and said out loud,”I’m stuck.” I stared at The Stuckness and noticed it’s bleak stranded quality, realized I was truly there. I even tweeted about it. I read other blogs and chatted online with other writers. And that’s when It happened. I was rescued. It sounds simplistic but just by saying “Yeah, I’m stuck. So?” the whole thing stopped being a big deal. No, the rest of that piece did not come easily. And honestly it kind of sucked.  No, I wasn’t able to bang out several chapters and a few scenes right after. But the acknowledgement alone set me free. As an addict, this act seems to happen a lot. Realizing I’m fucked, saying out loud “I’m fucked” and then asking for help-divine or otherwise is a routine we recovery types have to get into. So winding up stranded in The Stuckness is no different and luckily I have my tools to help me get out of it. This being said, The Daily Inspiration will return tomorrow as will more blogs etc. I know. Longest explanation for a blogging absence ever. Enough of me, now it’s your turn.

So fellow bloggers, writers, artists and creative types, tell me how do you get out of The Stuckness? What kinds of things do you do to stay inspired and how do you avoid burnout? Let me know all about it in the comments section! 

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12 thoughts on “The Stuckness

    • I totally agree! Upping the art intake-high, low and everything in between– does seem to help. Actually watching episodes of Modern Family last night helped me write some dialogue today. Whatever works right?

    • Sometimes necessary moping is productive. I can throw myself a hell of a pity party. It feels good for a minute then I feel bad and then I do something about it. How long all of this takes depends on how stuck I am. By the way, I like my Oreos double stuffed and my Doritos in the original flavor. Since ya brought it up 😉

      • Duh.
        Who eats oreos that aren’t double stuffed? That’s stupid.
        And Original Doritos are better than cocaine. I would know.
        During my stuckedness (new word) this week I discovered S’more flavored Pop Tarts. Thank goodness I am also addicted to exercise…
        I also made up the word Shitass this week. I do that when I am stuck, make up new words. I still haven’t decided if it should be Shitass or Shit ass.
        Thoughts?

  1. Prayer, which may or may not include making deals with The Creator, depending on how close to deadline and how little material I have. Let’s call it prayer that devolves into groveling as my desperation level rises. Anyway, it’s always good to read that another writer that struggles with stuckness, especially one I admire. It puts my misery in good company. Thanks Sean Paul.

    • You sir are beyond welcome! I’m happy that bout with The Stuckness can be helpful in some way. And yes I too am familiar with the “God, hook a brother up” prayers in times of desperation. The other night I was praying that either I get a great idea and start writing or that a bus would come barreling through my living room and put me out of my misery. Never mind the fact I live on the third floor of an apartment building. Details.

  2. I only read this post because I thought it was about mud wrestling… I jumped to conclusions with the title and that second photo.

    I write small, when I can’t write big. That is, I post a photo, comment on someone else’s post, or describe a moment of my day on facebook or twitter. I do feel like it is ‘sharing’ in the best way possible, and that it usually gets the momentum going. And when it doesn’t, it moves me from nothing to something which makes the inner critic quiet down a bit.

  3. “As an addict, this act seems to happen a lot. Realizing I’m fucked, saying out loud “I’m fucked” and then asking for help-divine or otherwise is a routine we recovery types have to get into.” When I am in The Stuckness with my freelance writing, I do exactly what you said: acknowledge it, accept it, ask for divine help, then write like my life depends on it–and some days it does. At times I look at the words on the screen and think: this is crap–pure crap. But, I have to get words on the page (screen) if I want to get paid. Crap or no crap, the job has to get done.

    • You are so right! It’s a definite “fake it ’till ya make it” kind of thing.Most of my first drafts simply suck and there’s nothing I can do about it. If I keep writing I’ll eventually get to where I wanna go. I realize now that writers who are successful aren’t necessarily the most talented writers on the planet but they are 99% of the time, the writers who simply kept going and didn’t give up. Anyway thanks so much for your comments and for popping by!

  4. I go with the flow because I’m not paid to write anything anymore. When I feel like writing, I do. But during the days when I don’t want to write something or photograph anything, I carry my camera and my pen and notebook. And then I jot down ideas of things that happen. Serendipity is powerful and slams me up side the head to get me out of my miasma.

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