May 31, 2011

The blank screen

The blank screen. Just the cursor blinking, mocking you. Painful, oh so painful, and yet full of potential. That’s what makes it so hard to start filling the screen with words, sentences, and things that make at least some sense. Things that are worthy of publication, of sharing, and of your reader’s time.

The blank screen scares me. It didn’t use to though, and I wonder if I ever will feel the same amount of confidence and possibilities as I did as a teen. It’s a shame that same confidence didn’t adhere to all parts of my teenage years, but I’m happy for what I got.

Which were screens filled with words, sentences. Some even made sense, and they were read and reacted upon. Usually by reading the next thing I blurted out, spewed out of my mind. It was ever full back then, a well of ideas and story hooks. The blinking cursor was my friend, it was the gateway to possibilities.

Now? Now it’s a challenge. It is probably because I’m a better writer, a more critical reader, and because I burden myself with high expectations. All that, however, is just explanations to the obvious conclusion.

The blinking cursor on the blank screen scares the shit out of me because I no longer feel confident in what my mind will spew out.

That notion didn’t use to exist, it is new.

Embrace the blank screen, let it mock you, make you doubt yourself. Let the cursor spit in your face and tell you how much you suck, that you’ll never write a decent word again. Feel how your confidence bleeds from your heart and mind, and savor the nauseating feeling of your doubt in your ability.

Take it in, taste it, and remember it well.

Then defy everything and write a word, then another one. Tell the blank screen with its prissy cursor to go to hell. Fuck you.

How else do you think you’ll be able to write and let alone finish a book? Writing is about pain and suffering and blood in your mouth, otherwise you’re doing it wrong.

Or maybe you’re just better than me, in which case the joke’s on you since I just stole 2 minutes of your time and mind.

Go write something. Now.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.