Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blank Screens

There are mornings when the words dance upon the keyboard and ideas bubble out from dusty edges.  There are nighttime scribbles of soft dreams and words penned in the darkness of tomorrow.  There are times with fresh eyes and tidbits generously seeping into the periphery just by walking to the corner.  There are days complete with praise and publication, emails extending validation with a ‘yes’ and finalized copy.  Copies of articles stuffed in drawers emitting the aroma of pride and exhaling into the world of writers.  There are hours of easy lines and letters matching seamlessly as they snatch a piece of my soul and make it concrete.

And then there are the other times.  The times of white screens and blinking cursors crossed out pages and disgust at overused sentiments that snag my sentences.  There are mornings of sweeping, cooking, laundry, and organizing closets to distract from the empty chair and computer that sits waiting for my creativity.  The mornings where I search for my muse amidst the chores, dragging my feet with business to justify the blank page.  I can fill days with replying to emails, paying bills, insurance wrangling, and mindless paper shuffling as I try to ignore the nagging guilt of broken rules.  Writers whom I admire, who share their secrets in books with dog-eared pages, all say the same thing: You have to write every day.  Write even when you don’t feel like it.  Just keep writing.

As if I didn’t already have enough rules littering my life with landmines, now I’m adding to the repertoire.  But it’s good advice, and it’s true – consistency and practice are always landmarks to reaching goals and honing skills.  And yet, there are days when just writing is harder than it sounds. 

I try to give myself pep talks, reading words of poetry and inspiration, stories of authors who struggled for years, wallpapering rooms with rejection letters.  I remind myself to be patient, to hang in there, and that I write to have a voice regardless of the publication at the other end.  I remember that it’s less about the publication and payment (although I’m guessing my landlord would think differently) and more about sliding down my rainbow. I try ignoring the end result, nudging my fingers toward the keyboard with loopholes of ‘it doesn’t have to be good.  You don’t have to post anything. Just write’.  I work to tamp out the guilt sparks, knowing that this brain is sold out for now. 

And I also remember to be gentle, to allow quiet nothingness, days of restoration muted for the coming of a brighter tomorrow.  I teach myself to be kind, to have a vacation without pressure to compose, to respect the process while still eyeing the prize. 

So on this morning of chilly blankness and to-do lists that shove aside lettered gems; I find my laughter in a glimpse of ‘it could be worse’ and pat myself on the back for sitting down anyway and writing with stiff fingers.
"I don’t have a particular book to propose, as I am comfortable in many areas. I’ve written a few lines below to give you my style. You can tell me what kind of book I should write."

And I’ve written a few lines below to give you my style. You can tell me which one you like as an answer to your query:
a. No
b. Hell no
c. Please direct all your future queries to the fine agents at William Morris

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