I text myself weird thoughts that pop into my head, hoping that maybe I can spin one of them into an article. Tonight, I try listing all of the times I have singlehandedly ruined parties. I wonder if publishing this will A) ruin my social life and B) matter to anyone other than me.
I try to do everything in my power at work to do anything but actually write. It is counterproductive, because a large part of my job is dependent upon me writing. I like to pretend that I’m too busy during the workday to write anything, but the reality is that there’s this very specific level of insanity and thoughtfulness I have to be in before I can bang out an article at my desk. It’s usually achieved by chewing 2-3 pieces of gum until my jaw hurts, followed by finishing my seventh cup of coffee for the day. Once my leg is shaking uncontrollably under my desk, I will come up with something weird, like a 500-word commentary on manic pixie dream girls.
Today, however, I am empty. I’m so unbelievably frustrated, but try to save my sanity by reassuring myself I’ll come up with something clever before the end of the week.
I am knitting and watching a murder show on Netflix and thinking to myself that I definitely should be writing something.
I am weirdly done with all of my work by 2:49pm. I am stressed out by this fact, since I’m usually working pretty consistently until 7pm, at which point I declare it is FAR too late in the day for me to begin writing. Now I’m stuck with the reality that I should probably start writing an article.
To find the motivation, I read about a million different articles on the internet—some I’ve read before and just enjoy enough to re-read multiple times a week, others are new and sometimes really amazing to the point where I’m furious that I didn’t come up with it first.
I read my coworkers’ stuff sometimes and think about how cool it is that writers have such a specific voice and it’s interesting to compare them to the actual person in real life.
I have no idea what my writing voice is or what I’m like in real life or if I make sense at all.
I wish this revelation would spur me into writing something, but I worry that I’ve run out of ideas. I’m obviously in for an illustrious career as a writer, seeing as I’m having this crisis at 22.
I’m slightly drunk and think about the time in college when my roommate convinced me it was a good idea to split a bottle of wine before I started an essay. I legitimately think I agreed with her, saying that Aaron Sorkin wrote all of The West Wing while using heroin and this was essentially the same thing. Except I was not writing a hit television series, but a five page paper on, like, Aristotle or something. I had proofread the thing the morning after and almost exploded because I had apparently decided to not use any punctuation throughout the entire essay.
As I think about this, I wonder if the tactic would work better on articles for the internet. I fall asleep drunk texting myself article ideas again and listening to that podcast about Richard Simmons.
I read the ideas I texted myself and wonder what the fuck I’m doing with my entire existence. Is that a thing Regular People do?
I still haven’t written anything. I can feel myself being on edge over it. I tell a non-writer friend my dilemma and all he says in response is that there are too many listicles on the internet these days. I scream out loud at my desk. My coworkers do not react because I scream out loud at my desk multiple times a day.
I decide to dig up uncomfortable memories about things that have happened to me to see if there’s anything I can exploit for the internet. Instead, I feel miserable at my desk, and catch myself staring out the window for too long. I wonder if taking a walk will help—but I’m worried an idea will come to me and by the time I get back to the office my motivation to write it will be squashed.
I think about texting someone I haven’t spoken to in three months just to churn up an Event and/or Feelings for me to write about.
MAYBE I SHOULD JUST GIVE UP WRITING.
I go to a coffee shop. The coffee shop fantasy is such a fucking lie, but sometimes I will divulge it a little bit and drink myself into a caffeinated state where my whole body is shaking and I’m texting everyone in my contacts erratically saying that I am WORKING in a CAFE and to not BOTHER ME for the next couple of hours. I read a lot. I wonder if staring at my laptop is really ruining my eyes. I wonder if I should go work somewhere without wifi so I can focus. I think all of these thoughts as I go through my Facebook feed for the 14th time in 23 minutes.
I think about a class I took in college on the Beat poets. I secretly like Beat poetry. I have a postcard with Allen Ginsberg’s face taped to the wall above my dresser in my apartment. I’m mostly thinking about how they took a ton of drugs. Drugs make me feel weird and I hate anything that will make me hallucinate because it messes with my control freak tendencies and one time I tried to call 911 because of an edible experience gone horribly wrong, so I guess I’m going to have to settle for Sober Writing.
I wonder if I’m just boring.
I’ve ignored almost 95% of texts sent to me since Friday night. This is a concern that I’ve decided to prioritize over me not being able to write anything for a whole week. I don’t do anything about either problem. My roommate and I order Chinese food.
The week has come full circle. I trick myself into thinking I’m being productive by reading some more on the internet. I send myself headline ideas over Slack. I start writing a psychotic, modernized version of Dante’s Circles of Hell. It takes me too long and I start to worry that I’m wasting my time. I’ve had three articles go viral before, and all three of them didn’t take me that long to write. My favorite article that I’ve ever written took me over an hour to write and, like, 50 people read it. I’ve been trying to recreate the other three articles’ success for months.
I go back through my past Slack messages to myself. I have a lot of headlines stored there. A lot of them literally don’t make any sense, but still make me laugh. I find one from January that just says “Ugh, Why Can’t I Think Of Anything To Write About?” I empathize with it.