I’ve never been much of a believer in writer’s block. Like Neil Gaiman himself, I always have several projects going at once. If I find myself struggling with one project, I move to another for a while. It’s a scattered kind of approach and I know it would drive some people crazy, but it works for me. Most of the time.
Then today something went wrong when I tried to update iTunes. The fact that I finally said yes when my computer asked me if I wanted to download the most recent version of iTunes was a sign that things were already amiss. When you download a new version of iTunes, you’ve already committed yourself to hours, days and weeks of frustration trying to re-lean how the new iTunes works. Because why would you make the new version of iTunes operate in any way that’s similar to the old iTunes? That would be so simple. So when, after firmly ignoring any and all attempts for months, you finally succumb, you know you’re probably already in a bad place psychologically-speaking.
Of course, the download didn’t work. The download somehow sabotaged the old version of iTunes so that not only did it not download, but I could no longer open iTunes at all. And no music=no writing. Like, seriously. I stared at the words on my computer, but I didn’t know how to make them come out without music. Specifically, right now, there was no way a word was going to emerge from my brain without Sturgill Simpson moaning in the background. It just wasn’t going to happen.
So instead of writing anything, I spent the next three hours un-installing iTunes and then trying to figure out why I couldn’t get it to re-install. Were there moments when I thought to myself, “You don’t really need iTunes in order to write, you know. You could use Spotify or Pandora. You could write in silence.”? Yes. And maybe to some extent, all those things are true. But instead, I waged an epic battle with iTunes.
Because here’s the thing–for me, writer’s block isn’t about not being able to write. Oh, I can produce words, sure. I just can’t turn off the voice in my head screaming that they’re crap. That voice is almost always there. Louder or softer. Sometimes the voice is so quiet I can’t hear it at all. That doesn’t mean it’s gone, though. It’ll be back. Maybe that’s what the music is for, in the end. To give that voice some competition. Sturgill’s moaning versus my inner demon making retching noises at every sentence I produce.
I conquered iTunes in the end through the expert strategy of turning my computer off and then back on. If the world ever ends, I hope someone’s around to suggest that as a solution. “Just turn it off and then turn it back on.” Sturgill is back and here I am, writing. Kind of. And the words only mildly suck.