ZYTARUK: The bogeyman’s got nothing on writer’s block

Few things are scarier, at least for me, during this time of Halloween shadows and things that go bump in the night, than writer’s block.

Forget Jason

So let it be written…

Few things are scarier, at least for me, during this time of Halloween shadows and things that go bump in the night, than writer’s block.

If only you could take a little blue pill. There would be quite a market for it.

If you care to google “writer’s block,” you’ll find 1,410,000 results. You’d think it were a pandemic. And at the top of those results, a definition: Writer’s Block – “The condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.”

This condition can last for minutes, for months, or longer yet.

I asked my fellow writers here at the Now about their personal experience with writer’s block and felt a collective shudder.

It was like we were children left, hand in trembling hand, to confront the troll beneath the bridge.

Ironically, books have been written about it (and at least one column as well). There are also some very good movies that broach the subject. Secret Window, Barton Fink, Adaptation, and Throw Mama from the Train are several. And there are at least two films out there called Writer’s Block.

Jack Torrance, that  crazy redruM dad in The Shining, probably had the worst case of writer’s block I can think of.

Who can forget his wife Wendy’s horrified face as she speed-flips though his War and Peace-sized manuscript to find “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” typed, oh, a bazillion times, page after page?

Stephen King, who of course wrote The Shining, opined that “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

I disagree. It’s all scary, beginning and middle, with no end in sight.

This is what Ernest Hemingway had to say on the subject: “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day…you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.”

Sound wisdom, except that when you write for a newspaper, you can’t just stop.

Fortunately in Surrey there is plenty to write about.

This time around, let’s set the “true crime” aside. Over the years we’ve brought you stories about UFO sightings in Newton, North Delta and Whalley, crop circles in Cloverdale, haunted houses in Port Kells, street ghosts in Panorama Ridge, creepy rituals deep inside sodden forests, and interviews with renowned scholars of vampire literature. Stories with real teeth.

But for this Halloween, I thought I’d bring you a true tale of terror.

So this is my best Halloween tale for you this week. Writer’s block. There’s nothing scarier.

Nothing.

(Trick or treat).

So let it be done.

Email Tom at tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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