Ketchup

Blog Challenge #6

Before I begin this blog post, let me make it perfectly clear that I am NOT a fan of ketchup, catsup, catchup, or any other variation of that tomato condiment. I think ketchup on eggs is disgusting, ketchup on a good steak is an insult, and I’m not even a fan of ketchup on fries. Okay, every once and a while I do enjoy a little bit of ketchup on a patty melt with toasted sourdough bread smothered in cheese and grilled onions, but THAT’S IT! So if this startling revelation causes you to want to unfollow me, unfriend me, or write a lengthy scathing rebuttal comment, so be it.

But this blog post isn’t about ketchup. It’s about writing and the struggle to put words on a screen – specifically blogging. In this week’s Fall Blog Challenge Melanie Holtsman has given us the topic “Your Life as a Writer”. Well let me tell you about mine.

I love writing. I also hate writing. I love the creative process of crafting a good sentence, clearly expressing a thought, sharing an experience, or telling a good story. I enjoy assembling a puzzle of words to give my readers a picture of what I’m thinking. When I’ve got a good train of thought going and my fingers are flying across the keys, filling the page, well, there’s nothing better than that.  Until that train comes to a screeching halt.

It can happen at anytime. Sometimes in the middle of paragraph or even in the middle of a sentence. I’m going along just fine then all of a sudden – nothing. It’s gone. Like someone just flipped a switch and all I see is a flashing cursor. Blink. Blink. Blink. I can almost hear it blinking. And I sit there, reaching for that one thought that up until a moment ago was right within my grasp. Meanwhile that cursor just blinks at me, mocking me, saying, “Hello! McFly! You gonna stare at this screen all day or are you gonna write something here?” I hate that.

It’s times like this that I think about some of the other bloggers I follow. You know the ones I’m talking about. They write just about every day, sometimes even twice a day. Their posts are clean, clear, and brilliantly written, and I wonder, “How they do it?” Their thoughts just seem to effortlessly flow on to the page like water down a spillway, while my thoughts flow more like…well…like ketchup.

Ever try to get ketchup out of a bottle? Sometimes you sit there whacking the end of the bottle all day and nothing comes out. Other times you just tip the bottle a little bit and the red stuff pours out all over the plate. It’s unpredictable. You never know. That’s what writing is like for me. There are times when my thoughts pour out all over the page, but there are other times when I can sit there all day agonizing over a blank screen, hitting my head, hoping for that one little thought that won’t come out.

If this has never happened to you, and you’re one of those people who can write whatever you want whenever you want, then let me tell you how envious I am of your ability. You have a real gift. But if you’re like me and can’t seem to shake those thoughts out of your head or spend hours struggling to piece together just the right words, know that I feel your pain.  I wish I had some proven technique to cure writer’s block but I don’t. Walk away from it for a bit. Listen to music. Bake something. Do whatever it is that works for you. Then, when you hit that sweet spot and your thoughts are flowing freely, take advantage of it. Don’t waste the opportunity. Write. It’s a great feeling while it lasts.

6 thoughts on “Ketchup”

  1. You are a gifted writer, whether you realize it or not. There may be some that write more often, but I truly enjoy reading your writing. Your post made me smile. And I will never look at ketchup the same way again. 🙂

  2. Don’t mistake quantity for quality, or the power and value of words.

    I definitely have found lots of practice leads to better performance, in the arena of writing and elsewhere. But it is important to not allow comparisons to lead us to frustration or at worst, dispair.

    We change the world one conversation at a time, as we change ourselves and listen to the ideas of others. Keep sharing and we’ll keep learning together!

    🙂

  3. Thank you both for the compliments and the encouragement.

    Thank you Melanie for setting up the blog challenge and encouraging me to continue practicing.

    Thank you Wes for reminding me to avoid comparisons and focus on the message. I’m a great admirer of your work and appreciate your thoughts.

  4. Writing doesn’t necessarily come easy for anyone and I agree with Wes that quantity and quality are not synonymous.

    Find your voice. Write about your own interests. Make writing something you look forward to. Somewhere on the long tail you will find your homies.

    Doug

  5. Oh, I love your ketchup story. Reading your blog about ketchup is like listening/watching a movie with the sound off. Then rewind, add sound and the music takes you into another dimension. Your ketchup blog, took me to the next dimension. Thanks,
    Cheryl

  6. Wow Cheryl! Thanks for the compliment. Your words made my day. It makes me glad I scrapped my original idea for this post, “Mental Constipation”. I don’t think the visual imagery would be nearly as pleasant.

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