Writer’s block

Taking aim at writing

My book chapter is due.

Even though I write every day the chapter is creeping around my feet, nibbling at my toes, and reminding me to get crackin’. Ellen Degeneres said that when she was working on her book (“My Point is”) that her house was never so clean. Funny how, when you’ve got a deadline, there are dishes to wash, puppies to walk and weeds to pull.

Fortunately I don’t usually have writer’s block (knock wood) but, like most writers, I both hate and love writing. The only remedy is to keep at it, day after day. Fortunately Melissa Shavlik, a lovely and brilliant graduate student at Portland State, urged me to continue this blog. My fear was that I wouldn’t be able to sustain it.

But every morning, after pouring a dollop of milk into my tea, I sit at the computer and write.

Turns out, I love the blog.

So here’s my admission for the day. Work requires that I do a load of paperwork that—in the final analysis—is about and for other folks. And a large chunk of my job means guiding others, so that comes with the territory. But here’s the thing. Sometimes I get resentful because I feel like everyone else’s work comes first, and my chapters remain unwritten.
But the blog has changed that. Because I write the blog daily (pretty much) that allows me to segue into my own work once I’ve finished the daily missive. Writing the blog is sort of occupational therapy for the job that pays my mortgage and keeps me in puppy chow.

So today I’ll tackle the half-written chapter for a book about American Indians and mass media. And I’ll wash some dishes, too.


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in Indian, journalism, Uncategorized, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Writer’s block

  1. Suzanne Atkin says:

    Keep at it Cindy. I love reading your journey!


  2. MaryJean Williams says:

    I like your reflection on balancing the needs of others with the needs of yourself. Good luck with the book project.


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