Nothing like a caffeine fueled all-nighter spent pounding the keyboard under dire deadline pressure to make you feel like a zombie the next day. There might be some thrilling, adrenaline charged, rushes experienced along the way, but by dawn, the thrill is gone. You stagger into the morning sun drooling and groaning, clutching your manuscript.
Writing may feel terrifying but eventually the looming deadline becomes even more terrifying and you launch into a monomaniacal, fear-driven episode of pre-apocalyptic writing zeal. Zombies don’t go away unless they are shot in the head, and probably not a few binge-writers have contemplated this as a viable solution by about 5:00 am while they stare raggedly at the screen.
Maybe you get done whatever you had to. Maybe not. Either way, your body knows that something very wrong occurred and it will demand retribution. It will deny you the ability to concentrate or even entertain a coherent thought during the entire next day. Or maybe even two. And forget about writing. Can’t do it. Don’t want to do it.
Plus, you now have created a brand new set of brain, muscle and cellular memories of sheer, groaning agony, and they are all linked to your writing. These memories will haunt you like organ-eating ghouls every time you think of writing. You’ve just increased the odds that you will avoid the keyboard for quite a while. At least until the next Night of the Living Deadline.
It’s never really explained in the movies how zombies ever came into existence in the first place, and writers usually don’t know where their blocks came from either. That doesn’t really matter. In both cases you’re in deep doo-doo and have to find a way to survive against all odds.
Writing blocks can be destroyed with bullets, but there are gentler methods that don’t throw away the writer with the block. Like remembering that the body is a writer’s best friend and should be treated with kind regard. You need the mobility, the brain functioning and the energy to be a serious writer.
All writers will have crunch times sooner or later, but just like the race between the rabbit and hare, slow and steady wins the day as the overall strategy. If you find it utterly impossible to conceive of writing this way, then perhaps if you just temper your peaks and valleys a bit, writing will be more enjoyable and maybe even something you look forward to doing. You can decrease the intensity and duration of writing binges at deadlines by putting in some consistent time writing every day.
Don’t let the flesh-eaters torment your nights. Shoot them in the head in the daylight with words, not bullets, and return your night to the deep dreams and natural rest that fuels your good work.