Just the Other Day: Writer’s Block

In my right hand I held a pen over a sheet of clean paper.  I stared blankly at the writing pad with no words on it. I wanted to write, but had no idea what to write about.  Writer’s block.


On the top of the paper, I began to doodle.  I sketched a small cabin in the woods.  I made the walls and created an angle for the roof. Lines turned into shingles.  I drew the windows and a front door.  A chimney with a thin bellow of rising smoke.  I drew tall spruce trees and mountains behind. To the side of the small dwelling I added bushes and a sidewalk.   I made a creek of water flowing to the side and put the sun and a few clouds in the sky.  I drew birds flying in the sky.


Finally, I added my truck in the driveway.  This sketch is what I was day dreaming about.  It is where I would rather be.  The illustration was my thoughts in picture form. No words were needed.


I wondered if God sketched a picture of the world before He created it.


I tried to focus on writing, but still nothing solid was coming to me.  I looked at the pen in my hand.  A Bic pen with a clear, hard plastic, octagon shaped barrel.  A small blue plug covered the opening on the end of the pen.


Inside was a tube of thick, gooey black ink.  My first thought: the blue plug on the end of the barrel was obviously not original equipment for this pen with its black ink.


This mismatched writing utensil is sealed on one end, but open on the other.  On the open end is small metallic colored cone.  A tiny ball placed in the end of the cone creates the tip. The tip becomes a tiny portal. the way to record endless stories, adventures and possibilities.


As the ball rolls within the tip, it gathers ink on the back side, then rolls forward to leave a trail of ink on the paper.  It is a sphere.  Round like a circle, it has no beginning, it has no end.  It is continuous.


The ball keeps rolling and rolling until one day when the ink runs out.  The ball stops rolling.  It becomes fixed.  It’s trail can only be looked back on. It can leave no more images, no more words.  It’s time is done.  That reality leaves me feeling empty.


But my pen still has plenty of ink today.  I just don’t know what to write.  When writer’s block sets in, I’ve  always told myself, “Just start writing something – write anything.”  Pretty soon, you’ll be editing what you wrote and before long, you’ll have your story


I wrote on the paper, “Here’s what I did today.”  I scratched it out.  I started again.  “What I did today:” I scribbled through the words again, then wrote, “What should I write today?”  I scratched that too.


I watched the pen, held by the tip of my thumb and two fingers.  My thoughts left in the form of words and pictures by a trail of ink. But those thoughts were wandering aimlessly.  Writer’s block stinks.


I wondered what would happen if I just let the pen write.  “Go for it, Mr. Bic. Tell me what you’re thinking.”


The pen moved effortlessly across the paper.  I moved my hand and read these words: “Put the pen down for a while. Stop writing for a while and just go enjoy this day in the mountains.”


Good Advice, Mr. Bic.  And, that I shall do.