Distractions. Momentary no longer. The strains of late-breaking events – which break all day – beckon, absorb, hijack my attention and time. Checking Twitter, acknowledging frequent news bulletin beeping on my phone, refreshing the Times and Washington Post for updates, streaming MSNBC on my iPad.  Suddenly it’s noon, my writing time usurped by outrage and pixelated focus. I move on to lunch, leaving a blank Word document behind.


Deception. I return to the computer with the grown-up me frowning over my shoulder. She knows it’s a ruse. I appear to think, compose words and sentences, but I’m playing hooky, browsing for summer clothes, bathmats, a new improved more powerful hair dryer that will do the job in half the time.  My afternoon writing consists of filling in my shipping address and credit card information. Tomorrow will be filled with purpose. Tomorrow, Miss Scarlett, I promise.


Desperation. It is now late afternoon. Following a day in the city, I come to a fork in the kitchen.  Glass of wine or attempt to write? I choose both. A delightful though unproductive combination. I face the white page, but it don’t come easy. It don’t come at all. I got nothing.


Desperation 2.0. I wake up at 5:51 and turn on the first horrifying hour of Morning Joe. During a rabid discussion of Trump’s trampling of democratic norms, I debate whether to forego my Tuesday workout and finish my unfinished piece titled “Body Image.” The voice in my head argues the merits of commitment and completion. The counter argument is working on my body image rather than writing about it. A winner emerges.  By 7:30 I’m on the elliptical watching the latest episode of Billions. Then lifting weights, performing 100 squats (with weights), two reps of leg lifts (with a 12-pound pole), pulling elastic bands for arm strength (100 on each side), and finally stretching my back and hamstrings. By 9 I’m sweaty and off to the shower. If my writing is not impressive, surely my workout routine is, not to mention my abs.


I’m hoping during our class’s month-long June recess an angel of inspiration appears. In the meantime, I got nothing.


Following a decades-long career in marketing communication and public relations, Susan Barocas joined the memoir workshop to explore her skills and potential as a writer beyond the professional world.  She is discovering new, inspiring aspects of the creative process, learning how to process constructive criticism and enjoying the company of talented, supportive people.