Tuesday, December 15, 2009

White-page panic

I'm blocked. Big-time. For the past two days, I've sat down at my desk, fired up Microsoft Word, pulled up my manuscript and ... just froze. Went tharn, like those doomed rabbits in WATERSHIP DOWN.

White-page panic, I call it. Others call it writer's block. No matter what it's called, it sucks.

I recall this happening a couple of times while I was writing my last novel, and I've spent countless hours trying to remember how I dealt with it then. I suspect it left as suddenly as it arrived. At least, I hope that's what happened. Because I don't like this feeling. Not one damned bit.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still writing. I wrote a whopping 135 words yesterday and bested that with a stunning 202 words today. At this rate, I should finish the novel in, say, the year 2015.

And I'm fairly certain I've done nothing more than bang out pure dreck. Dreadful, awful crap. God, I'm afraid to read it tomorrow. Really.

I was a newspaper writer for 25 years and had to write on command most days, even if the well was dry. I remember many times leafing wildly through my tattered reporter's notebook looking for something, anything, to get me started. Just so I could quit staring at that damned blinking cursor. Usually, it worked, and I would bang something out. Heck, sometimes it was even decent.

But the act of creating, of writing fiction, requires more than just plugging in something and hoping like hell it works. At least, it does for me. I've read many successful writers who say they just plowed onward, right through the wall. Writer's block? What writer's block?

Well, goody for them.

But I'll keep at it, one day at a time. And when the muse returns, I shall be here to welcome the little bitch with open arms.

But for now, I'm gonna head on over to Facebook and see who's there ...


  1. Writer's block is exactly why I quit Facecrack a couple months ago. Rather than fretting that I wasn't getting enough writing done or work on my websites, I would go and get lost in Facecrack, reading updates, commenting, making updates and I realized I was tricking myself into thinking I was doing something, when in actuality, I was doing nothing. I don't know about you Terry, but sometimes I need the guilt of not writing to fire me up to do something productive and creative. I quit Facecrack and Twitter and have been way more productive since. Sure, I know longer know what 300 people are having for dinner every night, but that's just one of the many sacrifices I endure for the sake of writing.

    Good luck with the blockage!

  2. True, Marty. But you know, even if Facebook (Facecrack! Ha) or Twitter didn't exist, I'd find some other way to screw off. But you're right -- in the end, the guilt gets the better of me and I get back to work.

    I'll work through it. I suspect it's more holiday-related than anything else. There's just so much going on right now that finding the solitude to write is nearly impossible.

    This, too, shall pass. :)