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Published on Mommy Tracked (http://www.mommytracked.com)

Writer's Block.

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time sitting at my desk, scrolling through thesuperficial.com when I’m supposed to be working. It’s a disgusting, mean-spirited, celebrity gossip website, but it’s pretty damn funny, and also highly addictive. Normally, I would not have precious working minutes to spare on a time suck like this, but I’ve had an atrocious case of writer’s block for the last several months, and looking at pictures of Heidi Montag’s cellulite and Kim Kardashian’s butt sure beats staring at a blank screen all day.

 

This being my first experience with writer’s block, I have, in the past, taken a rather skeptical view of the whole thing. I tended to see it as kind of a vague, b.s. excuse for people who don’t really work to continue not working. I mean, just the term “writer’s block” has such a fake, artsy ring to it. Like, I picture a guy in a black turtleneck pulling on his long, shaggy hair, all full of pain and angst over how ‘blocked” he is, when really he’s just a lazy guy in bad need of a haircut, who should just accept the fact that where he really belongs is at Starbucks, serving coffee to writers who actually have something to say. But oh, how my view has changed. To all of you writers in black turtlenecks, I sincerely apologize.

 

I have been on page 159 of my book since about the middle of November. The story is about two sisters living in LA, who don’t really get along that well. One is a casting agent for a soap opera, who is engaged to an up and coming

Hollywood screenwriter. The other is a stay-at-home mom with two kids in private school, who is trying to go back to work because her husband is having financial problems. When their parents announce that they’re getting divorced after thirty-eight years of marriage, the two of them go back to their childhood home on the east coast to clean out their things. While they’re there, an earthquake hits LA, shutting down the airport, and they have to drive back together across the country. Hilarity ensues, and along the way they learn to like each other again, blah, blah, blah. I like to think of it as Little Miss Sunshine meets In Her Shoes, or maybe, Thelma and Louise meets The Family Stone. I love my characters, I love the story, and I love how it’s going to end. But somehow, for the last four months, I haven’t been able to write anything new. All I do, every week, is re-revise the first 159 pages, and waste hours and hours on thesuperficial.com.

 

Part of the problem, I think, is that I don’t have a deadline. Well, technically, I do have a deadline, but it’s not a motivating deadline. The way that books work is that you sell them to a different publisher in each country around the world. Ideally, you would sell it in the U.S. first, and then you would sell it, country by country, to the rest of the world. But this time, things were done a little bit backwards. I don’t want to sell it in the U.S. .until I’m finished with it, but my publisher in Holland offered to buy it right away. So now I have a deadline for Holland , which was originally April. But obviously, April isn’t happening, so I asked if I could have an extension until the fall, which they gave me. Which is great, but the fall is a long time off, and it doesn’t seem to be lighting much of a fire under my lazy, blocked ass.

 

Recently, however, I made a little bit of progress. Last week, I actually wrote five new pages. I immediately deleted them, but it felt good to have an idea – to write something – even if it was totally wrong. I felt like I’d broken through a wall; not like I’d knocked it down or anything, but like I’d taken a sledgehammer and made a hole. I’m still on page 159, but I think it could be a start, at least. My hopes are high that this week, thesuperficial will have one less reader. Wish me luck.


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