Blank Screen Syndrome

writer__s_block_by_jaities-d3cjrm6Blank Screen Syndrome (now ‘officially’ known as BSS – I am determined to leave a legacy of some kind) is a terrible affliction and can affect anybody at any time in their writing career.

You sit, staring at the monitor, finding excuses to do anything other
than the task at hand – writing. The monitor stares back at you. Devouring you slowly in a subtle, unnoticed  fashion. At first, it gently mocks you. “See me?” it says. “I’m going to remain blank for the whole afternoon, and there is nothing you can do.”

You may disagree. You may decide to prove it wrong by typing ‘asdasdasd‘ on the top line. But it knows that, after a few minutes, you’ll be slowly backspacing that literary placebo into non-existence. Asdasdasd is simply the homoeopathy of the writing world.

The monitor whispers into your ear. taking charge of, and augmenting the writing demons you already carried inside you.

“Look to your right. Do you see how fine the weather is?”

“Your phone hasn’t pinged, but check it again.”

“Why don’t you get up  and lean on the back of the chair for a few seconds. Stare at me from a distance. That will bring you inspiration. I promise!”

You listen to the lies and allow the screen to eat you up further. Without you realising, it is dehydrating you, sucking out the water from your body through your already heavy retinas. If you listen carefully, you can faintly hear the sound of slurping above the tiny whine of your laptop’s cooling fan.

Once it is had its fill, the screen will start to eat the things around you. It is particularly fond of time. Moment by moment it will gorge on your time.  Slurping up seconds, munching on minutes, consuming the precious hours that you had set aside for your 2,000 daily words and leaving you tired, drawn and irritable, without a single key stroked.

There are solutions. Methods that will enable you to fight this curse.

Just write something. ANYTHING! “Kat knew she was tired. The bags under her eyes felt heavier than the four, overstuffed plastic sacks that she hauled slowly to the bus station.

It may not be good. It may sound like a rejected line from a questionable 1950s detective novel, and you will certainly amend, or even delete it later, but now you have a seed.

What did Kat buy? Has she just come from work or is it the weekend? Morning or evening? Does she love shopping or is it a necessary chore? Did she buy for a family? Her cats? Or does she live alone and has stocked up on chocolate and ready meals? Why is she using public transport and not her own car? Are they even bags of food?

Aha! Look at paths that you can now take in order to turn that searing blank screen into a 4 percent coverage of black pixels. You have direction, some back-story, a location for the main protagonist. In short – You have won!

This time…


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