Friday, April 8, 2016

What do you do when the lights go out?

Week four or five of the dreaded block during which I've started at least a dozen stories and abandoned them within the first thousand words.  Some fell by the wayside because the initial idea didn't pan out, others because the absurdity of the motivation got to me, and even more were killed for my lack of interest in pushing the story any further.  I haven't finished a story for nearly a month and even editing unpublished material has no appeal.

Where once my active imagination rested, there is now an empty seat.  I remember feeling a rush of excitement at the start of a piece, hardly able to type fast enough to pour out the story.  I recall thinking ahead and laying out a strategy for completion, lacking only the exact wording of the denouement.  At night my mind would come up with the next story, the next chapter, the next bit of business and in the morning I could hardly wait to type and capture it all.

Now, I face the empty screen with trepidation; fearing that I will be unable to craft the words that launch the tale, frozen with fear that whatever I do will be trash.*  Why won't the words come? What happened that turned off my story-telling spigot?  Why, Holy Heinlein, have you deserted me?

 But no answer comes as the question echoes through my empty cranium, not once encountering a single useful thought that I might turn to advantage.  Outlines don't help and pantsing for the sake of pantsing produces reams meaningless words.  I can still peal out the words, but telling a story isn't just command of the language; it's a matter of imparting meaning, emotion, and a sense of direction and all are sadly lacking.

I have four conventions coming up at which I will be the poor son-of-a-bitch waxing passionately at the bar about writer's block instead of the scoffing listener absolutely positive that such a thing will never happen to him. I

t's a bitter pill to swallow.

* As different from what I usually write, that is.


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