Herald Journal Columns
Nov. 11, 2002

Wanted ­ a surefire cure for writer's block


I haven't been writing as many columns lately, because I've been suffering from a common problem among writers ­ writer's block.

When I was pondering the idea of writing a regular column, I had many ideas of things to write about, and never dreamed I would have this problem. But, here I am now with my fingers on the keyboard, rambling aimlessly, and praying that I am holding your attention.

But, I am not willing to let it defeat my column-writing antics.

I've been writing my column for this paper for well over a year now, so I think I have a small idea of what it is like to be a full-fledged writer. And, every time I write a new one, I learn something.

I was very surprised to realize how much writing a column opened up my life so personally, along with the lives of my family and friends. They have been great sports about the whole thing, but I've found that most people in general are shy about being mentioned in the newspaper.

That surprised me and, at the same time, I heard an unmistakable "Duh, of course" inside my head. I am used to being in the public eye to some extent just by being employed by a newspaper, but my family and friends aren't. I've been known to "threaten" people (in a joking way, of course) to be nice to me.

I've also been "threatened" back. There was one column that stands out in my mind where I really made someone I care about mad.

I didn't mean to, and still think that "Pat" was being super-sensitive to my playful jabs. Nonetheless, "Pat" did not appreciate it and I was told never to name him/her in my column again. And he/she wasn't kidding.

So, I haven't ­ not even this column, where his/her name and gender has been disguised.

There has been several times I have struggled with whether I should share certain things about my personal life or views or not. Sometimes I have, sometimes I haven't.

Some examples:

I haven't shared that I am vehemently opposed to capital punishment.

I've thought about writing on that subject so many times, and have even been challenged by one of my co-workers (who shall remain unidentified, but whose name rhymes with Amy), but I've always been afraid that I would offend someone, since most people in this area of the country disagree with me. Maybe someday I will write about it, but we will have to see.

I have shared that I am divorced, and am remarried (happily) to my current husband. I had a difficult time deciding if I should mention that I was divorced for a couple reasons ­ I'm not proud of it and I didn't want to take away from the significance of my current marriage.

I've wonder if I should just lay all of my personal information on the table, just to get it over with. But, that would be no fun.

Or perhaps by writing this column, I am opening the door to writing on some of the more contravercial subjects I feel strongly about.

Nah, I don't think so, because that just isn't me, not that I don't enjoy a good debate every now and then. My focus now is to write lighter.

I took a break from writing about the funny things my kids have done, but I think it's time to move back that way, for a while anyway. My new goal, whether short- or long-term, will be to entertain.

Needless to say, since I live with two little boys and one big one, I should always have some material to write about.

And, hopefully, when my sons grow up they will forgive me for sharing some of their little kid embarrassing moments.

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