Todd Durrant’s Random Thoughts
Follow the efforts of a creative, crazed entrepreneur.

Writer’s Block = Very Random Thoughts

It has been a while since I’ve written in my blog.  I’ve tried to think of something to say, but nothing has inspired me.  That isn’t to say that my mind is completely silent– I still think about things a lot, but that doesn’t mean that anybody else is necessarily interested in those thoughts.   My inability to write anything hasn’t only applied to my blog, but to the writing of the two novels that I have in the works.  I haven’t been able to motivate myself to write for about a month now.

I looked up the term “Writer’s Block” online and of course was pointed to Wikipedia where it says:

“Writer’s block is a condition, associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task in hand. At the other extreme, some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers.”

Writing is not my profession.  I wouldn’t mind if writing eventually made enough money for me to buy a few groceries now and then, but at the moment, my writing is for my own personal fulfillment.   Even publishing my book was a way to emphatically declare, “I did it!  I finished a novel!”  I spent more on the publishing of “Trigger” than I’ve made…in fact, I don’t think it will ever break even.   But I do want to press forward in my efforts and hopefully improve my skills.

The book I’ve been working on most recently is called “Gracie Twofeet” and it fits into the growing arena of “youth fantasy” along the lines of Harry Potter.  The protagonists are children (well, most of the time) and the antagonist is an unseen witch.   Though there are similarities in my book with other stories out there, including Harry Potter, it is my own story and I have had fun telling it.   That is, up until a few weeks ago when I finished writing a sort of high point in the book, and I haven’t been able to sit back down and write any more since then.   I have a goal to at least begin the next chapter this weekend.

I have worked a little on music during the last few weeks, though not at a pace I was keeping earlier this year.   Since I now devote some of my time to teaching children how to write and record their own songs, I don’t have as much time to work on my own songs.  When I do get to my own songs, I become even more impatient than usual and don’t want to spend time on the details.  Thankfully, most of my next album was already near completion before hitting this lull, so I should have “Restricted” ready for release in early 2010.   I just finished a song this week called “Where You’re Going” which fits into the album concept  nicely, and my friend Marcus of Rename is making a remix of that song as well.  I’ve also sat down at a real piano every couple of days to practice some songs I’m writing for a future album which will be much more mellow and piano-oriented, in a Philip Glass sort of way.

What else have I been doing with my time?   It seems that time flies a lot these days because I am doing so many different things.  I wake up early at 6 AM.   On some days I go to play basketball with some friends at 6:30 so I can get at least a little exercise.   Other days I wander downstairs to my computer and begin answering emails and researching online before breakfast.   As the day progresses and jump between processing and packaging CD orders, updating the catalog, and checking the stock market.  Though I still don’t have any real money for investing, I enjoy learning how the market works and use small amounts to test different strategies.   It’s strange that I enjoy buying and selling stock since I never once even considered it in my life until just over a year ago when the market crashed.   The stock market was always a mystery to me and something that other people worried about.  I was more concerned about selling music…not stocks.

Here is an interesting piece of news– I was invited by a club promoter in Mexico to come to Mexico City as a guest DJ for a party.   He wanted to know how much it would cost for me to make the trip.  I looked, and it was rather expensive (around $700 just for the airline ticket).  Plus, I don’t exactly have a passport and visa ready to jump on a plane to Mexico for a party in November.   I turned down the offer, but it is the first time I remember somebody offering to pay me to take a trip to be a guest DJ.    You know, I used to DJ in a club years ago.  Back then, I played Latino pop / rock / dance music most of the time, and had little stints of playing 80’s and modern synthpop.   I enjoyed working in the club until it became tiring and I lost my interest in playing what the crowd wanted, over and over again.   The last club I worked at back in the early and mid 90’s paid me $50 per night.  You know it was no longer “fun” when I decided to turn down $50 just to play dance music.  I’d probably do it now for that little bit of money, but back then, it just go soooo old.

Speaking of being a DJ, I was asked to be the DJ for a Halloween dance at  my son’s small high school, InTech Collegiate High.   It is a charter school that focuses on science, engineering, and math, so it is principally made up of laptop-savvy, geeky kids (also very cool kids…I’m joking about the “geek” factor).   The school focus effects the demographic of students, meaning that there are probably two boys for every girl, which also means that dances are usually informal so that everybody can show up regardless of whether or not they have a “date”.   Usually they have a teacher there with a laptop and he just plays whatever music the kids give him on their ipods.   That means that the music is often not very danceable– they all stand around and sway to stuff like Coldplay (nice music, but not dance music).   Then when the teacher decides to get everybody moving, he defaults to what he has, which is corny stuff like Crazy Frog or “The Hamster Dance” (good stuff if you’re about 8-years-old).    So, my son convinced the teacher in charge of the Halloween dance that it would be more fun if his dad could bring a laptop loaded with cool dance music and 80’s hits.   It will be funny to see how the kids react to a bunch of music they’ve never heard of before.   Of course, I’ll throw in a couple of their usual rock stuff, just to give them a touch of familiarity.   But hey, this is a dance!  People will be in costume and will be there for a party, so I think the music I’m going to play will add to the mood nicely.

Here is something else I do with my time now.  I have taken upon myself more of the household responsibilities like laundry and dinner preparation.   Wow, it’s more work than I thought!  I never completely neglected those particular chores before, but now it is mostly MY job, so I do it all the time.  Yikes!  I’m still trying to figure out which socks belong to which feet!

OK, that’s enough rambling for now.  I suppose I really shouldn’t be writing anything at all during a writer’s block.  Otherwise you end up with a blog like this– full of nothing.




3 Responses to “Writer’s Block = Very Random Thoughts”

  1. Writer’s Block isn’t just for authors; as an artist, I’ll sometimes go a year between personal projects. Making everyone else’s art sucks up so much time and creativity, that by the time there are free moments to draw or paint, it’s the last thing I want to do. When the bursts come, though, they come fast and furious, and suddenly, there will be three or four finished pieces in a week. So hang in there- it will come!
    Good luck DJ’ing as well! When I’m asked to chaperone at youth dances, I’ll listen to what they’re playing and think, “If they let me at it for an hour, I’d either blow the top off the cultural hall, or kill everyone in the room with boredom.” I expect you’ll do a pretty smashing job. Best of luck!

  2. I find that when I get in a writing rut that talking over the current plot with my wife really helps. Sometimes things just get too jumbled in my head and getting them out into the open helps unjumble them. Plus she’s good for fresh perspective.
    Sounds like Gracie Twofeet (?) has some real promise.

  3. I find that the best way to get over writer’s block is to have people who like my music tell me so and give me encouragement. This gets me excited about the whole process again, and I think it engages my creative side. So, in an attempt to help you get over your writers block I would like to let you know once again how much I liked Trigger. Also, I have your new album on my mp3 player now and I am enjoying it, but I still have to keep Her Way and Like You (from the Like You single) on it, because those are really great songs too.

    Of course, this could backfire by making you feel too much pressure, but please don’t. I am looking forward to your future releases (music and literature), but I am very patient.

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