The worst is when the deadline comes, there is nothing to write about. It is known as writer's block – and it's happened to me this week.
"I don't know what to do," I complained to Phyllis dejectedly. "I can't think of a thing I haven't written about."
"Have faith and something will come," she said soothingly. "After all, you've struggled your way through 1,239 columns, and you can't quit now. What will your reader say?"
I noticed that she stressed the singular reader. She sure knows how to hurt a guy!
"You've covered your war-time experience, your school years, your farm failings and my sheep expertise, but there is a lot, lot more that you haven't said," she continued, knowing that her sarcasm had hit home. "Incidently, the sheep pieces were very good."
I choked up at the obvious compliment, as I sobbed a heart-felt "Thank you." But that didn't solve my problem for this week.
"Maybe you could write about the Hutterites," Phyllis offered, trying to be helpful. "You could tell everyone that they are not Mennonites, so quit calling them that."
I mumbled something like "Thanks, but no thanks" and went on with my commiseration. Surely there was a solution to my writer's block!
I went through all the subjects I could think of: aspirin, autos, baseball, Harvey Dunn, vitamins and zucchini. From A to Z, I'd written about all of them.
"How about people?" my always-helpful wife asked. "Besides Harvey, you've done stuff on Adam Vinatieri, Ben Franklin and Shakespeare. There are millions of folks out there who would like to be memorialized in a column."
"I don't know enough about anybody," I declared, as I rejected her suggestion. "I have writer's block and I'll overcome this situation if I have to make something up."
"That would be a big mistake," Phyllis warned me. "Your reader would recognize your phoniness and quit taking the paper. Then where would you be?"
She was right as usual, of course. I have always tried to be true to the maxims of journalism, and my reader deserves that. (There, she's got me admitting to a readership of one. I had two when my mother was alive.)
So to be truthful, I must admit, there won't be a column this week.
Blame it on the writer's block!
© 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz