Sometimes when I read the paper or watch the news, I get excited and imagine that my book The Contest is spot on, that it is the answer, that a huge audience is just poised to make it the next sensation due to my ingenious treatment of political and cultural memes. That feeling will sometimes last a whole hour. Then, of course, I imagine that the years I spent on this project was for naught – that nobody will care, that people will just glance over, shake their heads, and continue tweeting about the weather.

What can I do about it, as a writer? What about you? What can you do when the fog of resignation settles on you like a wet blanket, making your next plans seem dumb and worthless? This state of mind calls for fresh inspiration.

I usually mope around for a while before I remember what I ought to do, which is to snap out of it. But snapping out of a funk is easier said than done. Do I listen to a favorite symphony? Do I pray? Do I go for a walk, or hit the yoga studio? Or maybe call a friend and just bitch and complain?

The answer is: whatever it takes! I tend to work this sort of thing out in the confines of my cave – er, office. I pick up my guitar … I watch an episode of Star Trek, or I pick up a favorite book. Avoidance, you say? Perhaps. But I think it has to do with neutralizing the negative energy. Something positive, even heroic, has to offset and defeat the sense within me that I’m a victim and that I’m powerless. Then, I can slowly move back to my notebook or laptop and open up the work in progress.