The blank page, the anguish. Photo by Mike Tinnion on Usplash
It’s been almost two months since I last wrote on my blog. It’s been almost two months since I’ve written almost anything for that matter. Oh yes, my moods laid down on the crumpled paper of my notebook, there were some. But my novel, at a standstill, my juicy stories non-existent, as for my adventures… What adventures?
They say you have to live to write… And for those few months, I felt like I was living nothing. No excitement, no handsome young man for a spicy article. No road trip, no beautiful landscapes to describe. The emptiness, the nothingness.
The fear of taking time
Time, I had time though.
The four months since my return have not always been busy. Yes, I’ve seen all of my friends again, yes, I’ve played with my niece, had endless debates and laughs, and I’ve had a few benders.
Yet I felt like I was doing nothing and seeing nothing for those four long months. As if engulfed in a permanent anxiety, I went through one training session after another. At the same time, paralyzed by the guilt of having fallen so low, back to Dad/Mom, and in total incapacity to find a small job while waiting to see more clearly.
Of course, I tried to take the time to write, to say to myself, come on girl, this is the perfect time to do this. You’ll never have that much time on your hands again.
But the more we know that time is stretching out, the more tempting it is to put off our good resolutions.
For fear of the blank page, for fear of not being cut out for it, for fear of not being able to do it anymore, I just didn’t try anymore.
When anxiety about tomorrow makes writing impossible
Okay, I wasn’t experiencing anything exceptional to write about on this blog, but I could have set my mind to finishing my novel on Riverside Gardens. I could have given it a few hours a day, grown my characters, and had them go through with their investigation.
Except that I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t get under the skin of Frank, the dizzy one, or Paula, the octogenarian nymphomaniac. I had so many anxieties barring my brain that I couldn’t make them exist anymore.
And it’s in those moments, when the fingers no longer want to dance on the keyboard. When the cursor blinks endlessly without the words coming to rest on it. Yes it’s in those moments, that we feel like giving up.
The anxiety of the blank page. And then I scoured bookstores with books galore, novels by the tens of thousands. What was the point? Why inflict myself with hours of tapping on my keyboard, to be read only by my parents and a few loyal friends.
This is why I stopped. Suspended in my dark thoughts, I dropped my characters. I let go of my acerbic tone about my little everyday adventures. In short, I dropped one of the keys to my existence, revealed by Australia.
The breath of fresh air
And then my mind got finally free. That beautiful unemployment benefit that fell.
Like a new breath of life, I could breathe. I was allowed to take my time to search and find my way. Mind you, I’m still searching just as hard, if not harder. But the anxiety lifted. My mind has cleared.
Farewell to endless online training, farewell to those hours spent listening to impromptu teachers, forgetting to enjoy the glow of the day. Yes, I would continue to learn code, no I wouldn’t give up. But that’s okay, I would go at my own pace.
And finally, I’m getting back into the swing of writing. Between two strokes of the screwdriver, and the whirring of the hedge trimmer, I come back to life. And I finally remember, that I write for myself first. To deliver the characters that clutter my mind, to play with stories, as I once played with my Barbies.
My soul has found my favorite characters. And it is with happiness that I take up their voices.
Stories, I have dozens in my head. Novels, I’d like to write at least five.
It’s so tempting to spread myself thin, to start all the stories and never finish them. Yet we must persevere. Let the residents of Riverside Gardens finish their adventures to allow the other characters to come to life.
Writing takes time. And then, you never know if you’re getting it wrong. This first novel will probably remain personal, secret, hidden. Reserved for a few. 160 pages. It is already 160 pages long, and I still don’t know how many pages will be necessary to its conclusion. It will take courage for the first readers…
So I don’t get lost, I’ve ordered notebooks for apprentice writers. They’re supposed to guide me through my thinking and allow me to set a schedule… We’ll see how helpful they are to me.
First of all, I’m going to need persistence and rigor. Write every day or so, stick to one story.
I follow the advice on this site very well done. Okay sometimes when I read the advice there, I think I built my novel with my feet, but so be it!
By the way, it was on this site that I learned that on average, between writing, proofreading, rereading, and editing, a writer spends 4-5 hours on a page. On that note, wish me luck.