Monday, June 22, 2015

"i" before "e"

It’s simple, right? Basic, logical rules; step-by-step. “i” before “e”.

I hope it’s not writer’s block, but I have found it increasingly difficult, over the past six months or so, to write. Anything. Including blogs. It isn’t that the words won’t come…I’m inundated by them; overwhelmed. And none of the words are sufficiently connected to allow me to present them in such a way as to make sense of them. They spew out like water from a broken main, gushing in all directions at once and making the grabbing onto enough of them—the right ones in the right order, that is—to make a cohesive thought next to impossible. 

When it comes to working on a book, I find it very difficult to concentrate. What do I want to say? How do I want to say it? Is it a matter of late-onset ADD? And with the tsunami of words and random, out-of-nowhere thoughts, It takes amazingly little to distract me. (Oh, look…a tree! )

I do okay with Facebook posts…and as a result spend far, far more time there than I should…because Facebook involves short bursts of manageable thought which I can hold on to long enough to post them.

But with things like my work-in-progress Elliott Smith novel Cameron’s Eye I reached the point of spinning my mental wheels almost constantly and moving not one inch. I change a word here, move a sentence or a paragraph from one place to the next in an effort to give myself a mental kick-start and make the story flow more smoothly. Whereas I normally am able to have at least an idea of what the next sentence will be, and the one after that, I reach the end of one sentence and find myself staring at a solid, seemingly impenetrable wall. I have no idea what needs to come next. 

So I set Cameron’s Eye totally aside and started work on the next Dick Hardesty book, The God-Speaker, which actually is coming along, and I can sense the “old” joy of creating. But I’m not wild about the title. Yet I can’t come up with a better one. And once again my train of thought is derailed. (Do you like bunnies?)

Writing requires discipline, and while self discipline has never been one of my strong suites, what little discipline I had apparently has abandoned me. Plus, my muse seems to be on an extended vacation to some exotic locale where he can’t be reached.

Someone once said, “writing is the ability to apply the seat of one’s pants to the seat of the chair.” I can sit in my chair in front of the computer with no problem. But when it comes time to put my fingers on the keyboard and commence typing, all I come up with are bits and pieces and…(Do I need cat food from the store?)

The only thing between me and utter panic is the confidence that things will get back to normal eventually. If I can just concentrate on that fact…(What’s on TV tonight?)


Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

This is exactly what's been happening to me while trying to write Gaylias 2 for the past 3 years. It's in my head, I know it's there, but it just gets all fuzzy when I try to get it down. Even the short stories have been like pulling teeth to sit and pound out. The only difference is the one I recently finished. It darn near put me in the hospital wanting to be born. That little bugger consumed me for a month. It was a good feeling, though. It reminded me I'm still alive.