With the deadline approaching, I drew a blank. More troubling, I didn't know why.
For the past year as a columnist for the magazine, I've been able to count on a topic occurring in time.
But Monday, three days before the deadline, my mental cupboard was still bare. And other commitments for the next two days would keep me away from the keyboard. So I threw myself on the mercy of the editor and asked for a week's extension.
No problem, she said.
Even with the deadline pressure relieved, nothing came to mind. I told myself I'd write it the next Saturday, and I turned my mind to other projects.
Thursday the topic arrived in my email in-box—twice. Two distinct news items converged to illustrate a development of interest to the column's readers. I knew what I'd write about on Saturday.
But I forgot to tell my subconscious. About 2 a.m. Friday I awoke, my brain racing with ideas for how I'd develop the article. If I wanted to get back to sleep, I had to record those thoughts. I took a sheet from a page-a-day calendar into the bathroom, turned on the light, and filled a page.
Saturday morning the notes on the back of the Dilbert page still made sense, and the column's text fell into place.
Next time the ideas don't come, maybe I'll trust that I simply need to wait.