I taught creative writing for three years. (OK, so the last year I totally phoned it in. For those of you who were in that class, sorry about that. Let's call it two and a half.) I taught a few methods to fight writer's block. One of them being, of course, that it really doesn't exist. So I should know how to deal with it.
For the past year now, I've pulled out a pad of paper, opened Word in my computer, or started notepad in my Blackberry probably 50 or more times. Yeah, it's every few days, once a week or more. Nothing comes out.
I even found something that I typed up almost 10 years ago that was an outline to a novel type idea. I really liked it. It dealt with cults, time travel, and supernatural beings. I have three or four other full-length ideas, and a few more that would make nice short stories. Still, nothing comes out.
While I drove around this summer (all together, I topped 5000 miles easily), I thought of new ideas. Even new scenes. Some things that would be kinda cool to write, even if they don't even turn into a short story. Still, nothing comes out.
I think that just about the only times that I get out more than a sentence or two is when I blog (and you see how often that is) or when I'm creating some sort of lesson plan.
About a month ago, I had a dream (not just that once. I've had many, many dreams. But the dream starts this point). Some of you might have experienced this: I woke up and realized that it would make a totally cool story, so I wanted to get back to sleep to continue the dream. I hit snooze, and drifted back near the point of being asleep, snoozed again, drifted, and continued until the dream was a long distant thought. I barely had the slightest hint of what it was out after a few snooze shots. So I placed a notepad and a pen by my bed so that I could write down ideas when I woke up. It's still blank.
I do remember last night's dream. Well, the basic idea, at least. I was living in a world where people had super powers; a Marvel or DC type of universe. I wasn't me. I was a character living in this world. And I, too, had a power. I had to power to know when people received mail that they didn't want. I'll wait here a second while you reread that. That was my super creative inner mind at work. Oh, I didn't just know when people received mail with bad news. Not just bills, either. I knew when they received mail that was addressed to a previous occupant about something irrelevant to the current occupant. I knew when they received junk mail. Yep, that's what I dreamed. I do remember that email started to become part of the dream, but it was more of a question mark and less of an absolute.
I wonder if that dream is why I can't write anything. Because I have lame dreams. Actually, I think there might be a short story in there somewhere. What if in this place, people have all sorts of random powers but they just can't use them? How about the power to know when a TV show named "Shark Fighters" is on TV, but the show doesn't exist? That person would never even know about that power. By the way, "Shark Fighters" might also make a good story. Maybe I'll try that one, too. These days, I'd be pretty happy with anything longer than a sentence.