There are no words.

Agitation and restlessness can be the death of a writer.

Forward-thinking for a nonfiction writer carries similar risks. There are only so many words for speculation before it becomes fiction – a genre as unfamiliar to me as the inside of a volcano.

Guesswork becomes boring. Old tricks age even faster. Procrastination takes a seat in the throne. I make one thousand faces in the mirror before even typing a syllable. I become obsessive about using the Word Count function.

Writing about writing is the default and writing about problems or lists comes in at a close second. The former is of course educational and inspiring but borders closely with self-righteousness, which is not the intent of my work here. The latter is a cop out, because all writers know that it is better to show than to tell.

Listing excuses is classified as the ultimate transgression in the writer’s world, although admittedly it can be done humorously and therefore succeed in distracting the writer from the loss, from the hollowness of no voice.

The final stand is taken, however, and I sink heavy and unbelieving into my desk chair. Imagine a ball and chain linked directly through the heart, cuffing the hands in position over the keyboard just so. Gauge the sensation of eyelids pinned open, staring wide, empty yet expectant,

and wait.

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