Thursday, September 19, 2019
The Blank Page
Writer’s block is an interesting choice for the subject of this blog, since I have never experienced a problem finding words to write or type. Until now.
What is this strange occurrence? What causes a writer to sit before an empty page or screen with no idea of how to begin or what to write or type? I’m not sure I have the answers, but since I am experiencing this phenomenon for the first time right now, I invite you along as I attempt to solve the problem.
I’ll start by saying that I have many years of writing experience. If you’ve read my earlier blogs, you already know that in one of my first attempts in early grammar school I wrote poems in pencil on some discarded pieces of window shades. A curious beginning, I admit, but I have been writing ever since. So why am I now sitting in front of the computer and finding it impossible to think of the first (or any) word to put down.
I’m working at a huge wooden desk, where a long drawer about an inch from my knee holds two enormous binders filled with notes, research and rough drafts of chapters for my next two historical novels. And, on a shelf behind me are several neat folders containing short stories. Some have been printed. Another won a blue ribbon in a contest, which made me feel good until I discovered the top winner received a gold ribbon and I was a mere second.
Perhaps, if I read through the folders, I will uncover an idea or a clue to my hesitancy. In the first folder I choose, I discover notes and sample paragraphs I wrote some months ago on the subject of the complicated relationships between sisters. An idea dawns. I’m thinking I could work this information into novel-in-progress number one, the fourth book in The Carty Sisters Series. The story is about Maggie Carty whose sisters are imploring her to leave Ireland and make her home in America with them.
I’m still not moving full speed ahead. I’m holding back: all thinking, no writing. Should I work on one of the novels or the blog? More uncertainty. Perhaps, a bit of discipline is what’s needed. I am a little hungry, but maybe I shouldn’t allow myself to stop for lunch until I make a legitimate beginning. I do need a drink. Settling down now with a glass of water, I read through another short story and make notes on things needing to be expanded or rewritten. Restless again, I decide to move on to the blog. Now that I’ve written these first few paragraphs and I believe I’m on my way, my knee begins to feel stiff. Should take a short walk and stretch out my legs?
In a minute, I’m out the front door, walking away from my brand-new house on my brand-new street. I’ve been researching life changes and new beginnings lately. My husband and I recently moved from a subdivision of large family homes with wooded lots to a two bedroom villa with a little patch of grass that a lawn service arrives each Tuesday to cut. It was a necessary move and it has proved to be a good thing, but a definite change. I suddenly realized this subject of change and new beginnings will fit perfectly into my second novel-in-progress. The story is about a young woman who wants to escape her hectic life and disappear to a place where she is all alone.
I’m offering a prayer for inspiration when I realize I have reached the main road. It’s time to climb back up the hill and go to work. Energized now, I’m walking steadily but a little slower, since the path back home is steep.
Though I’m still hungry, I’m determined to do a rough draft of the ideas I’ve just developed before I forget anything. The walk and the anticipation of a treat helped, but I’m sure it is the inspiration from the Holy Spirit spurring me on.
I am now settled back at the computer, and in a short time a rough draft of my notes and new ideas for both unfinished novels are complete.
Another twenty minutes pass, and a draft of my blog is done.
I am not sure my methods will work for everyone, but this writer’s block thing has disappeared.
Mary Kay Tuberty
The Carty Sisters Series:
Keeper of Coin
Keeper of Trust
Keeper of the Flame