Publishers Block

What would cause a writer who enjoys writing to let his blog stagnate for more than a year?

You might suspect Death, solver of all problems and pooper of all parties, recycler of all things fleshy, collector of final dues and eraser of memory arrived on the writer’s stoop to close all accounts, past, present and future. You would be wrong. Though my office smells stale as, which I attribute to an old sandwich, not recently pedicured feet or a farting cat, I assure you Mr. Black has not been here to visit.

Alternately, you might think a blog lying dormant for more than a year indicates the writer’s life, without warning, blossomed with overwhelming delight, crowded the writer with awe and wonder and left no time to scribble and share Nature’s exuberant generosity. Though I find myself occasionally paralyzed by the ambient mysteries of sunrise and bird song, this is not my excuse.

A blog lying dormant for more than a year could result from an immersion in congenital laziness, an unfortunate option to keep open.

Or, a blog lying dormant for more than a year might indicate the writer suffers the disease of the blank page and was deeply infected with writers block; perpetually empty pages cloaking space, time and imagination. Not so. I am a coffee addict who drinks a carafe or more each day and continues to write, as I have for decades, a few hundred words with every cup. Writers block is not the cause for my neglect.

Writers block, no but publishers block, yes. Publishers block.

Words arrive, flow through the pen onto the page, but when it comes time to rewrite, to sew the seams and tie up loose ends, an irritating voice screams “No! It is not enough.”and I listen.

I do not think I am the first writer to suffer publisher block. By all accounts, several favorite writers went to press kicking and screaming, dragged to print by determined editors, unsung heroes of literature making immeasurable sacrifices in an eternal effort to put the words of reluctant writers in readers’ hands.

Publishers block does not get the media attention enjoyed by writers block, but the Internet might change that. Back in the day, editors did more than push writers to deadlines, they edited copy, managed page layout, suggested topics and insisted on changes. Hell, an established writer with adequate stories could consistently deliver rough drafts and let editors worry about typos, verb agreement, apostrophes and homonyms. The language of our favorite books originated with our favorite authors but they were honed and polished by a team of professional honers and polishers. On the world wide web, we have no such support group. We do it ourselves, all of it: write, rewrite, text-edit and layout. When we finish, we start trolling the InterWeb for our next topic.

Publishers block comes as no surprise.

I consider myself a good writer, but at copy-editing I suck. Like some but not all writers, when I get into the zone usage goes out the window. I frantically scribble as many thoughts as possible before inspiration dissipates. Drafts teem with misspells, varying points of view and illogical jumps. Rewriting fixes some but not all trouble spots. Meanwhile, editing techniques introduce new crap as old crap is eliminated. Imagined deadlines force fingers to hurry and, as we all know, haste makes mistakes. I know how language works but lack of focus and weak eyes make for sorry-assed text-editing. Perfection hovers out of reach and seeking it I suffer a flow and ebb of success; rewriting my boulder to the top of the mountain then watching my efforts crash to the valley, pulled by the embarrassing gravity of typos, paste errors and incomprehensible phrasing.

Complicating the usage issues, content insecurities wriggled into the mix. All recent efforts wallow in self-examination (boring as hell I assure you) and politics (the most offensive distraction of modern civilization). Faced with error ridden posts predestined to bore and offend, I decided to walk, then walk, and yet again, walk. My clothes fit better but my blog disappeared from search engines like fog under a hot, morning sun.

I know. I know. You are thinking “Stop whining and get over it.” And so I shall. As matter of fact, if you are reading this, as boring a piece of introspection as any, I did get over it. I decided to bore you rather than ignore you, and then I made a rhyme.


© 2008-2012 Chromia Poetics