Compulsive Writer

Tasty Morsels for Writers

Facing the empty page

You should be writing

Ideas have my fingertips tingling.  I need a keyboard.  I need to get started.  But now I’m here my fingers freeze.  Ideas that were fully formed at 4am, or when stuck in traffic, are now amorphous.

What will I put out there?  Will it be worth it or am I just wasting my time?  Has someone already said the same thing, but better?  How should I primp and nip and tuck and tighten my words for the best impression? 

What is wrong with me?

Starting a blog is a lot like starting a novel.

But in some ways its different.  Another thought tugs at me; an eerie fancy that if I gaze into this mirror-reflection online world too long, I will lose part of myself.

The internet is no ordinary looking-glass. I can climb into it and slip down a rabbit hole of infinite links and clickbaity titles, all the while measuring and comparing myself to others, and it scares me that when I finally awake the world I knew has dimmed.

This last month I took the time to carve myself out time in the old world.  I sat back and took the time to breathe, took off my shoes and pressed the soles of my feet into the dirt.  I shut my eyes in the shower so I could feel the water flow over my back, and my face, and my elbows. I stared at small rhythmic movements of nature: leaves dancing and ocean waves slinking forward and receding.  I watched the cumulous clouds creeping like Rorschach tests across the sky, and took the time to wonder why I saw in them those things I saw.

I am no Luddite.  I grew up with a keyboard and computer games, and I cannot thank the internet enough for the communities it has opened up to me.  But it has opened up something else too, a playground for the inner child who cannot help calling out, “Look at me!  Look at me!”  Her appetite for attention is hard to satisfy.shutterstock_80825758

The internet keeps my inner child wired on vodka and Red Bull, and I find her bouncing up and down on my exhausted brain at 2am.  True, sometimes that’s exactly what I need.

But to be creative, I need the slow rhythms and the boredom of the old world.  With them, I can fall into the leisurely pace of a long book.  The looking-glass feeds me a cacophony of ideas I don’t need; the old rhythms give me the time to nurture the projects I have started, to tinker away at them and let them grow.  With them, the empty pages are not so ominous.

Words are things that can be planted and replanted.  And novels, like gardens (or people for that matter) grow slowly.

Ha ha.  So simple in theory.  We’ll see.

Anyway, welcome to anyone who comes here to join me on this journey.  We all work in different ways and we all have the pain and joy of our own journeys. I hope you will share with me your thoughts about writing, creativity, and anything else you really want to talk about.

Image of notepad © Alex West 2015, but feel free to use with attribution and a link to this blog.  Image of hyperactive inner child available from Shutterstock.

Related Posts

Books vs Computer Games – a post about empathy (external link)

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This entry was posted on February 16, 2015 by in reflections and tagged , , , , , , , .

This blog is about…

…writing, life, and trying to coordinate the two.


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