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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« Go ask me: how to overcome a creative block | Main | Boots »

Just a small block. Nothing to worry about. Probably. 

Hello, would you like to hear what's going on in my head?

I'm determined to complete the latest draft of my novel but now, whoops, I've decided that it no longer makes sense. Oops, whoops, oh well. Who told me I could write a thing? Not going to give up, though, so I noodle around in chapters and make little stabby motions at the keyboard while my stomach hurts. And then I flee in terror, tumbling down a Pinterest-hole for hours. This isn't the most efficient way to make progress, turns out.

Other productivity methods that have failed me: drinking too much coffee, eating whatever's around, hyperventilating, Googling successful friends, angry showering (careful with that loofah, kids!), irritating the cat, yelling at stuff, cleaning everything.

I may be a-quiver with self-loathing, but on the plus side, our apartment is extraordinarily clean. I dusted the ceiling. Do you need someone to dust your ceilings? Just say the word.

I'm sure this will pass. Right? Right. As the goats would say, "Bwaaa. Aaaagh. Muaoaoaaaa. Ehhhhhhhhhhhch."

Reader Comments (22)

You'll get it back, but in the meantime, those goats are killing me with laughs. Oh, and feel free to dust my ceilings anytime. Maybe it'll help!

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPgoodness

You sound like a writer. :) I worked (am still working?) on a screenplay off and on throughout 2011 and last year, and then I reread all that I'd written up to that point one afternoon and thought, "The premise makes no sense." Screenwriting had suddenly interested me, so I tried (am trying?) it. . . .I'll come back to it, I'm pretty sure. I really think the procrastination and brain breaks are just part of the writing process. You know that already, I'm guessing. Anyway, you'll get there. And my ceiling's fine, but you're welcome to help me get caught up on laundry. :)

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVal

I don't ever have writers block because I only ever intend to write gibberish and that's pretty much a guaranteed outcome. Except for the rare abject failures when I am embarrassingly coherent. Like maybe now.

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Dyer

I'd love to have you dust behind our television--there's been a big dust blob on the wall for long than I'd care to admit. So far my plan of making a mental note to "dust that later" hasn't worked. Thanks.

Hope you're unblocked soon!

Huh. I hope no one goes straight to comments and reads that bit of encouragement out of context.

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWombat Central

I'm having my own anxiety moment right now, too. Totally different reason, but oddly the goats in my head sound just like yours. MWAAAAARAHHH

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAsha Dornfest

I'm sure all those goats had extremely successful, zen-like moments very shortly after their bleating.
And so it will be with you!

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

oh lawdy. i did nano last year, and am trying desperately to figure out if there's a story buried in the metric ton of poo that I wrote. i'm so with you, goats and all.

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrahree

Oh, crud. Well, can you take some time away from it to work on something else--something that might count in your head as "valid" work and not a distraction? And then you could go back to it with fresh eyes and have a better sense of whether it makes sense? Hm...

LOVE the goats. They made everyone in this household fall off the chairs with laughter.

Hope things get better SOON!

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren P.

Ok, listen, I've read your entire blog. The whole thing (stalker!). And I also read a ZILLION other blogs. Do you know what? YOURS IS MY FAVORITE. My favorite on the whole Internet!

So when I hear you doubting your talent it makes me Hulk-Smash Mad! How can you not KNOW what you have? You should be SMUG! Smug bordering on asshole about your writing! Srsly!

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRita

The video of you poking your cat has me in stitches. I shouldn't laugh really, it's just we have three of the furry buggers and if you clap loudly when they're all asleep in a tangle? Bliss.

Alice you are a fabulous writer so try not to let it get you down. One day you will open that file and it will all just be right.


February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMillie

In happier news, you are without question the funniest thing on vine. I love it when I literally do LOL. Which I did. For every video. And I'm not generally that kind of girl.

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKirsty

A novel? A novel! You have a draft? Eek I'm excited.

Revising/ rewriting sucks. Do you know anyone who could copyedit it? Pay someone! I can't explain why this works but it does. I think it is because you can make it mechanical and then you don't freak out as much because it starts out being about track changes. It would probably be a fortune with a whole novel.

I am right where you are. However, I am not writing anything fun like a novel. I am going to a hotel. Which reminds me to hotwire tonight. That's another thing that works for me--going to a hotel. There are certain rules involved like no internet and no TV. But you are a mom--so you'll feel real guilty and that helps you follow the rules and work all the time.

I wouldn't go to a hotel in NYC. Too expensive. Go to Connecticut for the weekend. Some horrible place. Some totally sterile horrible hotel.

Why am I giving YOU advice? I never even got so far as a complete draft of a novel.

One time I was trying to finish something way overdue and my life was hanging in the balance and all of the sudden the voice in my head whenever I read it was Donald Duck's voice. I was a little bit flu-ish prior to this but that was really insane and I have no idea whether it was the flu or not.

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterozma

Hahaha! :) Blocks suck. :P

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEnid Melanie

Oh, hell, yes, I know this story! Happy to commiserate. Have you seen the goat video with the Taylor Swift/goat duet:

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRita Arens

Exercising (like doing push-ups) can help. Throwing darts, juggling tennis balls I read can stimulate the mind when it's having writer's block.

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCaesar F

My husband finds the sounds of those goats very upsetting. They make me laugh.

And they're the exact same goats!

So, you might think your novel makes no sense, but someone else might find it inspired, glistening with wit and genius.

I don't think glistening was the quite the right word there. But you get the jist.

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterroo

I'm sorry you're in a rut, Alice. For what it's worth, I'm dying to read your novel, whether it makes sense or not!

Until this too passes, enjoy the following goat mashups — call it productive procrastinating ;)

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErica

You might not be able to write a novel, but you sure can bang out one hell of a blog post.

PS: That's what it sounds like inside my head most of the time too.

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaddy Scratches

I haven't been here in a month or longer and so I was delighted to read The Boots post and this one as well. You have such a lovely way of expressing your thoughts. I have a list of writers who I find so engaging and who I could read all day long and you're on that list. I know a random stranger telling you this is probably not all that exciting, but the list also includes people like David Sedaris and Mary Karr, so it's not a bad list. You really should be blown away :)

March 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteram

You are too funny and it is scary how similar our avoidance techniques are! Hang in there!

March 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLori

Stabbing little runs at the unweildy draft, upset stomach, too much coffee, obsessive non-writing tasks, enraged bathing...check check check check check.

In my experience this is EXACTLY how you write a novel. GOOD JOB! Keep it up and you will soon have a ready-to-shop MS due to the transitive powers of self-loathing-your-anxiety-into-story I look forward to reading it.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoshilyn Jackson

"tumbling down a pinterest-hole for hours" I think we all have been there!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTara Yelman

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