The Blank Page Syndrome

It’s been a while since I have had the problem with looking at a white screen, and then my mind goes blank or there is a huge desire to stand up and eat a cracker or do some housekeeping chore. Today has been that day.

Normally I go tapping on the keys and hope that when I finish writing, the thoughts would make some sense by the end of the essay. Write the next sentence is in my thoughts (got that from Dean W. Smith). But today, the next sentence seems banal and uninteresting. It is more interesting to wander through the blogsphere or facebooksphere and make one line comments.

This malaise has also spread to my creative writing. Last week, I was having fun with my stories when I slammed into a wall. I am now wondering if my stories are any good and if anyone would even read them. I am trying to face the idea that I may like to write, and I may like to read my own stories, but only a very few people, probably as many as I can count on one hand, read what I write. My proof is in the selling and the reviews by the way.

It doesn’t mean I’ll stop. Heck no. I don’t have the moral fortitude to deny the words that bounce around in my head or the characters who sneak through a now open gateway in my mind. It means that I will not turn this into a profitable business.  I am not a business woman (never have been), I am a creative– the person who always has ideas and can turn them into practical applications.

The urgency I feel comes from knowing that my time is short– and has been shortened. When I first went to my doctor about this disease, he told me that his first patient lasted ten years after being diagnosed. I now am eleven years into the disease. When I became ill, I had started my path towards publication. I had several poems published and a short story. The short story was even a paid story– a literary sci-fi, probably.

I was in the middle of a novel when I ended up in the hospital with a staff of nurses and doctors who knew I was dying. When I was finally diagnosed, I knew that my time for writing was almost over. It took two years before my brain started to work enough that I could write. I have been on chemo that has played havoc with my brain, but I still wrote and I still sent out stories and poems. I even had some of them published.

It was after reading Jon Konrath’s BlogSpot that I knew that I needed to indie publish. At first it was a wild west– but now … I just don’t know what has happened to the excitement of new authors. When I look for new authors instead of established authors in Amazon and other places, it is hard to find them. They are dropped to the bottom of the pile. I do look by the way. There are two reasons I look for indies and indie publishers– 1) to show support and 2) the stories are raw and fresh. Most of the stories haven’t been polished to death. I like that–

I hope this post doesn’t sound like I am wingeing or saying look at the poor girl– she can’t get anyone to read her stuff so she is whining about it.

I might be a little– but I know that I need to get as much out now as I can because I have a fatal disease (not life, Vasculitis). One of my closest friends who has the same disease, is losing her lung. I almost lost her last year and we are the same age. So I do have a reason to feel the urgency– but it also makes my mind go blank when I see that blank page. I have probably put too much pressure on myself to perform.

One of the reasons I went indie was because I knew that time wasn’t on my side. I didn’t have a decade or even five years to send out novels and stories to trad publishers. Then when I learned about some of the practices of said publishers, I decided that it wasn’t worth the stress and aggravation even if I wasn’t ill.

So trad publishers were out. Plus I have tons of rejections. I am tired of those too. It gets to the point that rejections just become soul-crushing. Intellectually I know that magazines and other publishers can’t publish everything. Yet, knowing that fact and emotionally getting it are two different things.

However– I did get a lovely rejection letter from the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction for “The Case of the Golden Seed” before my illness. I would have sent them another story, but I hadn’t written one and also I was starting to get sick.

So every time I hit a wall, it sets me back a year or two or in some cases a decade. I wonder if I am a masochist because I have hit that wall so many times and for so many years.

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