The Blinking Cursor of Doom

I sit here and I stare at it, and I swear, it's mocking me.

It's strange how I have faced extensive rewrites (book 2 was scrapped at 68,000 words and started fresh), major copy edits, NaNoWriMo on multiple occasions, and yet nothing is quite so daunting as a blank page, and that one little lonely black line. Sitting there. Blinking at me.

I think it's the unknown. The sheer overwhelming possibility of it all. Will it be a poem? A witty blog post? A dissertation on the feminist imagery on boxes of athlete's foot ointment? It could be anything!

What if it wants to be a novella, and I force it to be a dirty limerick? Or what do I do if my iambic pentameter novel-length epic poem turns into commercial jingle parodies? There are just so many ways this could go wrong.

It's not so bad, once you get the first line down. Even the first word. Then the page isn't blank anymore, and it's not staring at you all expectant like. You get the first few marks on the page, and it's tamed, ready to be molded into whatever shape you have.

But right now, what I have is a blank page, and a blinking cursor of doom. So I sit, and the cursor blinks at me, and buried under the sheer enormity of what might be, nothing is.

Wow, that sounded really deep.

I feel like I should find a video of college guys lighting farts on fire or something, just to counter it all.


LupLun said…
Yeah, I think I know what you're saying. Starting a fire is a lot harder than keeping it going. Suggestion: start by writing a line you know. Even if it's not the first line. If all you need is to get the ball rolling, then get it rolling. You can come back and fill in the gaps later. When Richard Wright began work on Native Son, he knew exactly the story he wanted to tell, but had no idea what the first scene would be. So, he started with the second scene, wrote the rest of the book, and came back and wrote the first scene last. You can tell, too, because that first scene is the entire story in microcosm.

Shooting for the Moon
K.A. Stewart said…
Sometimes, I even have to write "Stuff happens here" and just come back later. I live in fear of the day I accidentally turn the wrong file in to my editor, and she calls me to say "Um....?"
Bets Davies said…
I do a lot of writing, magnet-boarding, Inspiration doodling before I face that page. So it doesn't seem blank. Just waiting.

Never freak about the first page--or scene. By the time you get to the end, it will probably be different anyway. So chill, and just get into it.

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