The Neurotic Writer In Me

Every writer has a monster inside.

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As I stare at my blank screen, I knew something was off. Somehow, there’s no train of thought. There’s no words. I silence the youtube video that’s playing the background. I close my eyes to reset my brain.

Nothing.

This is new. This feeling of “having zero ideas”. It’s like the great death of a white beast inside me.

I’m shocked. I’m horrified.

Could it be? I’m done for. All these years of thinking that my ideas are worth something. All these years of priding myself on a few original thoughts that led to a few essays that I called my own.

Devastation: swamp filled wasteland.

My freelance career haven’t even started yet. What are you doing to me?

This is when I inevitably turn to my trusted ritual.

I get up from my desk and walk to the kitchen. I grab a cup to make myself an instant cup of coffee. I make it strong. I put some sugar in it. Then, I take out a bowl. I grab that large tub of ice cream from the refrigerator. I scoop out as much ice cream as it takes to cover the bowl.

Then, I sit on the sofa with my bowl of ice cream. I devour the ice cream like a hungry lion.

After it’s gone, I place the bowl on the counter. I come back to my desk with my coffee.

I begin again.

This time, words come out fragmented. But, they flow. I can feel the ideas stirring in my head. I focus my attention. I pinpoint one idea.

I run with it.

Soon, words pour out more freely. Occasionally, I correct a few words. Then, I erase an entire paragraph. I re-write my train of thought.

I take another sip of coffee.

This time, I can hear sentences. I can hear dialogue. I can hear laughter from people reading my words.

I am rolling.

Just like that, I’ve written another post.

Every day, this is my process of writing my post on Medium. Each time, I must have:

  • silence
  • be on my computer (not laptop)
  • have a cup of coffee
  • have a bowl of ice cream

If any of these conditions are not met, I can not write my post for the day. If I don’t write my post for the day, I am not fun to be around.

Are you listening?

Good. Medium is my latest Muse. It’s literally the place where I work as well as the place where I work out. I will submit serious pieces as part of “work” to publications. Then, I will write these sarcastic humor pieces in the depth of my depression to work out my mental problems. Everyday, it’s therapy, group therapy and life therapy rolled into one.

This is why I can’t quit. I’m addicted.

I’m beginning to think of my readers as actual people. This is not normal. In social media, the one thing that you do not do is think everything is real. On every platform, it is simply an alternate universe. You socialize. You have fun. But, your life outside is waiting for you.

You turn it off. Then, you live your actual life.

For me, Medium has become a bit more than a social media platform. I’m working with friends on publications. I’m socializing with them in Facebook groups. They like my posts on my son’s wierd toddler behaviors. We are friends now.

I confess. I’m in this state of cognitive dissonance that I can’t seem to get out of.

On the one hand, I want to think all of social media is just an image building universe. Then, on the other hand, I’m baring my soul on Medium. I’m reading writers who are baring their souls on Medium.

I feel like we are getting to know each other.

Medium, you are not making this easy for me. As a muse, you either kick my ass or scoop me up.

Which one is it?

About the Author

Jun Wu is a technologist turned freelance writer and a single mom. She lives in upstate NY with her son. She blogs on wellplayedchild.com about parenting and entrepreneurship. You can find her most active on her Twitter and Instagram accounts @wellplayedchild.

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Writer, Technologist: Tech|Future|Leadership (Forbes-AI, Behind the Code)

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