Wednesday, November 12

Clever Post Title Not Yet Determined.

Let's talk Writer's Block.

As a public service to you, the CDP Reader, I absolutely refuse to force an essay out just because I feel I'm due for one, nor will I write a sub-par essay on Tuesday when I feel I can turn it into an awesome one by Friday. As you may or may not have noticed, I've been hit with an ever-so-slight bout of Writer's Block, and until it decides to run its course, I'm left to sit here and play Excitebike until the Humor Blog Gods decide to give me my gift back.

Of course, the Gods have typically been good to me. I can't think of many blogs out there that crank out as much quality stuff as the CDP does, so I suppose I have nothing to apologize for. However, when there's something interesting that I want to say, and for whatever reason, I cannot find the words to say it, it's unbearably frustrating, annoying, and more than a little frightening. As a writer, feeling the urge to write and yet, not being able to do so, feels a bit like unrequited love. Why has this become so difficult? Why can I no longer function? Why am I listening to Louder Than Bombs on a constant loop?

The sports fanatics (which I am) would refer to this as 'Steve Blass Disease.' Quick history lesson for you, courtesy of Wikipedia:

In the 1971 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Steve Blass pitched two complete game wins, allowing only seven hits and two runs in 18 innings. He finished second in the voting for World Series MVP behind teammate Roberto Clemente.

Besides his Series performance, Blass is best known for his sudden and inexplicable loss of control after the 1972 season. His ERA climbed to 9.81 in t
he 1973 season. He walked 84 batters in 88 innings, and struck out only 27. Blass suffered through the 1973 season, then spent most of 1974 in the minor leagues. He gave it one last try in spring training of 1975. Failing to regain his form, he retired from baseball in March 1975.

Thereafter, a condition referred to as 'Steve Blass Disease' became a part of baseball lexicon because such a change in a player's skill was identified with him. The diagnosis is applied to talented pitchers who inexplicably and permanently seem to lose their talent.

Mark Wohlers had it. You could argue that Mike Vanderjagt had it. But me? Come on. I'm the guy that did 1100 words on killing a spider. 1800 words on American Gladiators. Almost 3000 words on just kissing, for Christ's sake. What is going on, here?

Am I done? Washed up? Have I run my course? Sound off in the comments section and let us know what you do to ward off Steve Blass Disease and stay fresh when it comes to your talents.

Don't forget Rick Ankiel, he made it back. Maybe you just need to change your approach.
Dude, I did a whole bit on dinner at Steak 'N' Shake as a History Channel documentary. And now, I lay fallow. It happens. Life interferes. Don't fret. This is a fluid medium. Things come and go, and we all abide. Dude.
Try to think of Writer's Block as a luxury. If I don't write, I don't pay my bills.
Even with writer's block, you make a post ABOUT writer's block funny. That's a talent, my brother.

I don't know if you have Steve Blass Disorder...I think you might have Brett Conway Syndrome. Ha!
Don't worry, you don't have Steve Blass Disease.

Maybe you've been "Munson'd" instead.

Remember in the movie KINGPIN, when they'd refer to people as being Munson'd when they were down on their luck or whatnot, in reference to Woody Harrelson's Roy Munson's demise in the bowling world.

But by the end of the movie, he gets back in the bowling alley and gives Big Ern a run for his money.

You just need your Amish Bowling protege, equivalent, to motivate you.
I find that excessive alcohol consumption helps. Of course, then you have to have the stipulation that anyone reading your work also has to drink to excess because to sober people it just won't be interesting. Still, it might be a way to find out who your real fans are.
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All degeneration into LOLspeak aside - dude, you've still go the words and the funny. They're just napping.

Me? When it gets like this, I force myself to do a whole lot more listening and observing of the world around me. I read a lot. I ask people questions. I imagine wild speculative fiction scenarios for as many mundane situations as possible.

For instance, yesterday this middle-aged woman rear-ended me. There was no damage to the car or to me, but the poor lady was in absolutely hysterics. In the middle of it, she said something like "I'm so sorry, I've been sick all week, in the head..."

Now, I assume she meant she had a head cold or something, but could it be that I caught her in the middle of a massive mental breakdown? Had her work at the hospital gotten to be too much? Maybe a manager had been harassing her, maybe she'd killed a man in Reno just to watch him die...I mean the possibilities are endless.

Sometimes you have to let your mind do that for awhile without writing it down, and eventually the urge and the ability will just rise to the surface again like so much bubblin' crude.

So take a deep breath, man, and listen to your woman. She gives good advice.
I think Hathery is right .. . but then again, isn't she always?

You could start by reviewing the latest CDP mixes . . . note that I'm 75% kidding.
Indeed, I am!
WILL - I blame the caffeine. It ain't helping my flow. It would appear that I gave up one vice for another.

SMEDLEY - Thanks; you're probably right. This things come and go, I'll need to unfortunately wait it out.

NINA - Good point. I should really just relax and be happy that nothing is on the line but my dignity and self-respect, which, let's be honest, went out the window years ago.

HATHERY - Yup, I noticed the irony last night. Oh, and by the way, Brett Conway was never talented. Ever. So it's totally different. :)

BRUCE - Maybe watching Kingpin will tell me what I need to know. That's a funny-ass movie, right there.

KENNY - Why did you delete your BLAM!? I loved it! I miss you!

EMILY - Nice story; you're right. I need to just forget about it, and it'll creep up like it normally does. I'm just very used to it happening automatically (sometimes when I don't want to be inspired, like 3am on a Wednesday).

HOSS - Trust your wife. It's universal advice to maintain a decent marriage. Even when you know she's completely off of her nut.
Especially when she's off her nut.

....or yours. ZING!

I think your blogs are fine and I hear you about not wanting to phone them it.

I got an idea! Write about "The All-American American" Jack Thwagger.
*phone them in.

And that guy sorta looks like Tom Hanks.
I'm suffering too, buddy. I have about 6 half-written posts that I just can't quite complete. However, I'm going to Pennsylvania for an extended weekend of drunken debauchery which should provide some material.
Totally envious of JT!! I *just got back* from Penn's woods. There wasn't (too much) drunken debauchery. But there was snow. And covered bridges. And Amish food. And venison. Did I mention snow? Because there was snow.
I hearted Jack Thwagger until he cut his first promo. Now I am just crossing my fingers that I don't have to hear him speak...ever again.

Brett Conway was a talented college hero. Look him up.
EMILY - Zong!

MIKE/HATHERY - Thwagger rules, provided he never speaks again.

Oh, and you know who else was a talented college hero? HITLER.

JT - Enjoy PA, JT! Take lots of photos, but remember to blur out the naughty bits before you post them to the web.

MAUS - That sounds pretty awesome. What's up with people going to Pennsylvania in November?
Are you comparing Brett Conway to Hitler???
I'm going to give you advice, even though you never asked for it, and often, people giving unsolicited advice sucks.

I get lots of writer's block. I mean, just look at my blog and how many times I've written about nothing trying to trudge through it!

Some things that have gotten me through the rain (sorry, Barry Manilow reference) include:

- Posting more comments than normal on other people's blogs. It's my parasitic approach, as I glom off other people's creativity and hardwork, and attempt to add a half-witty response to their posts. (See Also: What I'm doing right now)
- Email, Facebook mail, or Text Message friends. Again, just the act of writing, even in this form, does something to stimulate the creative juices. The stupidest conversations have spawned some of the best inspiration.
- Spring a monkey from the zoo and take it on a cross-country road trip. This is sure to produce stories you never could've dreamt up!
I like the monkey idea.

Except make the monkey a hedgehog, and make the zoo our house, and make the hedgehog Laika, and make Ryan me.
BRUCE - Great advice, man. I really want to stay productive and optimistic throughout the Winter, so I want to get motivated and stay motivated as quickly as possible.

Tomorrow I'll post some hate mail. That'll boost spirits.
You get hate mail??? Tell me it isn't so!
I get maybe one or two insane rants a year, which is actually a fairly amazing statistic considering the amount of nutballs that are out there.

For the most part, I'm left alone because I just make fun of myself and don't bother anyone. Story of my life, really.
Well I'm very happy because I just played Guitar Hero 4 at a friends house for 5 hours straight.

Just thought I'd share.
I am not really much of a write myself...usually what I write consists of crappy handouts for my students. But I always feel more inspired after reading something I really love. It makes me feel better about life in general.
Two days ago, I realized that the sure-fire way to break my Writer's Block was just to flat-out destroy some dude that has it coming.

Monday brings the pain, with what the Missus claims is one of the funniest essays I've ever written.

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