My Affliction: Writer’s Guilt

I could (and would like) to scream right now and none of the hipsters with their oversized headphones in this LA coffee shop wouldn’t hear a thing. It’s 2PM on a Thursday and the place is packed. I could barely find a spot to squeeze in and have room for my laptop and overpriced ice coffee. I sit down, arms pressed firmly against my ribs as to not touch my neighbor.

I have this terrible feeling in my chest as if my lungs are a wine bottle and the cork is almost, but not fully, lodged in there. I get this feeling of discomfort often and force myself to consciously take full gulps of air. I could self-diagnosis what is happening to me as the start of anxiety attack but it seems a bit extreme; maybe it’s less of an attack but more like an insult? I don’t want to sound like a hypochondriac, as those folks are super annoying.

I sit, staring at a sitcom script that I wrote months ago and then put down in frustration. Re-reading it, I must admit I’m happy with my choice of dialogue. I even made myself laugh out loud a few times. Maybe I’m not destined to be a Hollywood assistant—and that’s when I’m employed—forever.

However, I also see why I put the script down for months. The story, the plot, the crux of the entire thing, needs work. It’s missing the vital elements any script must have and that is what is causing me this near panic attack (or is it anxiety? What is the difference? I’ll google now as a means of procrastination to find out). Did a brief google search but realized that I shouldn’t take the time to dive in and fully understand it so the question of anxiety vs. panic remains unanswered.

It’s not that I don’t have the time to work on this script but rather, I have too much time. Endless days of unemployment and uncertainty. Right now, I just don’t know what to do with the story. And this lack of air coming into my lungs is making it difficult for me to think logically and comedically. I am paralyzed by the unknown.

The cursor on the script blinks, my fingers paused over the keyboard. And thus, my next affliction: “writer’s guilt.” This too, this “writer’s guilt,” I’m not sure if it’s a proper term writers use (you know what, let me google that too, and see). Good news on this one, it seems that I am not alone given the lengthy list of titles that come up on the google search. Perhaps I’ll read those soon but no, then I’ll feel that guilt. The guilt of not writing. That feeling that I should always be writing if not engaged in a more important, writer-centric activity. You know, like pitching a show to a big network (not that I’ve ever had that opportunity). But, this is a common, chronic ailment I’ll have to live with and thus, learn to manage. I know I can’t consistently chalk it up to “writer’s block” and walk away. So in this moment, I chose to write in a different context, a less daunting one; I write this writer’s rant in hopes that it will make me feel less guilty, my keyboard yet again getting some human contact, my brain, albeit not where I want it to be, focusing on more than my lack of breathe. How could it be that I’ve become that cliche, “tortured writer,” when what I’m writing, is comedy? Who know comedy, could be so dramatic. You know what, I think that cork just got a bit looser. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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