Facing The Blank Page

So, I got an email about a group that published a couple of my short stories in 2018 and 2019 being open for submissions again.

Ugh.

Writing has been a struggle for me. Blog writing, aside from mostly boring life recaps, has been difficult. Attempts at coming up with anything creative to post — or even finishing some of the creative ideas I had in the past — have been fruitless. Ditto with my fiction efforts.

Rarely do I sit down to write fiction and have a concrete idea in mind. That isn’t usually how my brain works. My ideas start off as bits of conversation. Some faceless character will say a sentence or two and another faceless character will respond. I’ll sit down and work on it, and before I know it, I’ll have a couple pages worth of dialogue, an idea of who my characters are, and I’ll know where I want to go. Now, just because I know where I want to go doesn’t mean I’ll finish it, but still, that’s how I work.

I don’t think I’ve sat down and outlined a book from start to finish more than a couple of times. My husband, son, and best friend half want to beat me now because I won’t work on an outline I showed them last year. I wrote 30 pages and stopped. They know how it’s supposed to end and want the rest of it, but it hasn’t happened. I’m just not built for writing anything longer than that fiction-wise (at least at this point in my life), regardless of knowing how it will end.

I don’t suppose I’ll ever teach a writing class.

The dialogue hasn’t been coming to me as much these days. My brain has been in a slump, which is so frustrating. Most of y’all reading this know how it is, because it gets that way for you, too. (And if it doesn’t, don’t tell me.) Whenever I get writer’s block like this, I always wonder how much of it’s me (and the normal ups and downs in writing) and how much of it is the mood meds holding me back. There’s absolutely no doubt that there is a huge drop-off in creativity with meds. So that, on top of the unpleasantness I wrote about in my last post, has been sucky. I talked about this with my psychiatrist last week, and he mentioned there being drug trials with LSD and the such. He joked that if he got to prescribe that, I’d have an abundance of creativity.

So, you’re suggesting I obtain illegal drugs to fix this? (Just kidding, of course.)

I took my laptop to my daughter’s occupational and speech therapy appointments yesterday. I’m pretty sure I looked like a crazy lady, because I was doing some hardcore staring at a blank page on my laptop. One of the therapists asked if I was okay, and I gruffly said yes, somewhat annoyed by her intruding on the thoughts I wasn’t having. Ha.

(I’m tempted to rename my blog using the title of this post.)

I came up with nothing yesterday afternoon. I tried again last night and came up with a few lines that I hated. More trying this morning. I came up with some dialogue I liked and wrote a few pages, but had no idea where I wanted to take it. (It was some funny shit, though, about some old ladies at a senior circle, and it made my husband literally LOL. So yay for that.)

After lunch, I sat down yet again. And then a thought turned into almost 4,000 words and 10 pages, beginning and end. (It’s a suspense-horror deal, a genre I’ve never touched, and certainly a far cry from funny shit at a senior circle.) I’m not terribly pleased with it, because I don’t think it would be accepted after cleaning it up, but it’s progress. (And hopefully that idea will lead to another, ideally a genre I’m more comfortable with.) I’ll sure as shit take that right now. And I didn’t even need LSD!

I relate to this so hard.

Image result for the office i'll start talking gif

I guess the non-pharmaceutical solution to writer’s block is simply writing, as silly as it sounds. One thing leads to another and hopefully you’ll get something you don’t totally hate.

Now, watch me jinx myself with that and go back to the blank page later night and not be able to come up with anything.