If you’ve ever tried to write something – and I’m sure most readers of Mechamster have – you’ll know the feeling. You have an idea for a story, perhaps more than an idea, a whole fleshed-out plan in your head. All you have to do is write. And yet, there’s something holding you back, something that stops you despoiling that pristine white page with your ill-found words.
Procrastination, I am thee. I have found all manner of things to do rather than actually start writing this story that has been on my mental to-do pile for the last few weeks. I’ve had ample opportunities to get it written, and it’s only going to be about 4,000 words so it’s not a massive task, but can I get started?
Some folks talk about writer’s block, but I am one of those that doesn’t really believe in such a thing. Not in the ‘the muse isn’t with me’ sort of way. No, when the words aren’t flowing, it’s usually because the subconscious is pulling the strings, trying to attract the attention of the conscious about a problem or flaw in the plan or writing.
The problem is, I think the problem my subconscious is giving me hell about is a simple one, and isn’t about a detail of plot or a nuance of character. No, it’s screaming at me ‘Is this the right story at all?’
For once, I need to ignore it. The simple reason is that this story is something different, outside my comfort zone. It’s not going to see the light of day for quite a while yet so I can’t go into details, but suffice it to say that it is not a bolters blazing, guts and glory tale that I am quite used to.
I’ve done what I usually tell people to do in this situation, taking my own advice. I’ve slept on it, letting the ideas lie fallow before coming back to them, and given the story plenty of time to percolate, distil, evaporate and come back as creative condensation spattering my thoughts, and still I can’t quite bring myself to commit to an opening line.
It’s a minor crisis of confidence, nothing more. I’ve had them before, and I’d be very surprised if this was the last.
So it is time to put into practice advice nugget number two. Just damn well write something. It can be edited, rewritten, ditched altogether, but having something on the page is always better than having nothing on the page.
Which is why I must now draw this little update to a close, open up that blank page, and write something.
“I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE.”
[But I'll be back soon, I promise]