Have you ever just sat and stared at a computer screen for about 10 minutes? Not because you didn’t know what to write, but because you didn’t know how?
I don’t have a problem with words. In fact, I’m very good friends with them. They float around in my head and bother me at night. Sometimes they won’t even let me go to sleep; clamouring and bumping against each other, giving me general unrest. Until I respond to their demands and attempt to clear my head.
But as soon as I pick up a phone or open up my laptop and approach that blank sheet, it’s like all the words I’m so familiar with take off in a full sprint. They’re not hiding, they just won’t come forward. Those interminable minutes I spend staring at a screen is the time I spend inside my own head, trying to coax coy words that were, a few minutes ago, shamelessly throwing themselves against walls.
I’d like to think that other writers go through this, but I’m not entirely sure. Maybe some of them face a fraction of it? Because I really do believe that if I had to go through frustration this palpable every time I tried to write a book, I wouldn’t have written as many as some of the authors I know.
I have about 7 manuscripts (possibly more), some of which I thought would be my best work; still sitting unfinished in dark recesses of kilobyte jungles on my laptop. But on the bright side, I finally started a project that might just work out. I call it The Project because I’m legitimately still too frightened to name it in public.
I’ve been quietly nursing a suspicion; a great hope. If I can just get this one done, maybe my first whiff of success will trigger some sort of domino effect.
But it’s a secret… Don’t tell the words in my head.
Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow