I’m trying to write. Trying to be inspired, to find that perfect prompt that will shoot me into my next story; but I am chasing shadows. There is no perfect prompt. It is an illusion made up by writing books and authors who have “made it”. ‘It just came to me’ they say nonchalantly. ‘I dreamed about that character’ they might add. ‘The story has been rattling around in my head for ages and my friends always said it would make a good book’ another might quip.
And then there’s me. Apparently the only writer who doesn’t dream her characters into being during the night; full, robust beings by the time the kettle whistles. No story rattles around my head. No well meaning friends are begging me to put a story to paper (the begging goes in a slightly different direction). This isn’t writer’s block. Writer’s block implies that there is writing that is being blocked. This is writer’s – see, I can’t even come up with an analogy to what I am going through – blank. The complete absence of anything to write about; characters, setting, description, dialogue would all be lovely but I first need a subject. The point of the story, the plot line needs to have its start somewhere. First line, last line, middle of the story – I’ll start anywhere if I could just think of something to start with. (And now I can’t even compose a sentence properly, ending with a preposition – shameful.)
So here I am doing one of the very things I detest because I cannot think of anything else to write. I am writing about writing. I detest it because writing is such a personal experience. So what if big shot, New York Times Bestselling author uses a five inch by nine inch blue cloth bound journal that cost $9.95 and has blank pages with character traits listed on even pages and setting descriptions on every other odd page with plot outlines on the remaining odd pages. It’s just not me. Not that I don’t like the color blue (which I do) or that making lists of things is bad idea. But writing is personal. I do it my way. You do it yours. Just because my fiction professor says he only uses a single notebook (four inches by three inches, black with an elastic band) for everything, from grocery lists to chapters of his novel, doesn’t mean that I must consolidate my writing journal, a sketch book (makes me feel artsy) with the wire spiral at the top and a yellow cover; my (hmm, was about to call it deep thoughts journal but not so much) personal thoughts journal which includes my Bible notes, and the journal of ‘crazed in-the-moment thoughts and poems’ on my computer. They do not have to become one. Why? Because I don’t want them to. I like having multiple journals. Skipping from one to another enhances my writing (at least that’s what I tell myself). To be honest, there have been times when I have wished I didn’t have to lug three separate journals half way around the world just to record my thoughts. But I suppose if I were to do otherwise I would not be staying true to myself.
Even with all my journals I can’t think of anything to write, but here goes. There once was a girl. (How original.) Where does she go? Whom does she meet? I DON’T KNOW I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK!