Zero words, white pages
On Creating Issue #8
It’s like trying to write with a 50-foot long pencil. The pencil is familiar—you’ve used one for years—but this pencil won’t move the way that you’re used to. It seems weighted to the floor. Heavy with indecision, certain you won’t be able move it. Mocking you, smiling at you, pointing at you. Laying there.
It’s like trying to type on the world’s largest keyboard. A single key takes 50 people to press it. It’s a keyboard made for giants, and you look up at it, paralysed by the mountain you see in front of you. It seems to get bigger the more you convince yourself you can’t type on it. A real life Hitchcock shot. You wish you could shoot it. Kill it. Massacre it.
The mocking flash of the cursor that never seems to be able to start saying words.
It’s like knowing every word in the dictionary but not the words you need right now. As if somebody in the middle of the night ripped from existence the words you need. Ripped out that small section of your mind that would allow you to write the first word or find the first idea.
It’s like sitting in the sun but wishing for a different kind of weather you can’t remember the name of. All you’re seeing is everything you don’t want. Plants but not that plant. Grass but not that colour. Garden chairs but not those kinds of garden chairs.
Angry hits on the Enter key just to move the cursor further down the page to feel like you made progress.
You sigh. Even the sigh sounds wrong. You sit there, self-editing your very existence. This isn’t how you normally sit. The desk is off-kilter. Your hands aren’t ergonomically aligned for optimum performance. You open up Google and start to type. It’s the first thing you’ve written today.
How to find ide…
You stop yourself before it’s too late. Before you get sucked in to a sea of 7 Steps To Finding Ideas or How To Be Creative or What Hemmingway Did To Beat Procrastination or…
Hemmingway probably just drank.
Drinking sounds like a good idea right now.
You look out of the window, wishing you could be anywhere else but sat in this prison of inaction. You watch a dog running across the park, tongue running alongside its face, ears billowing in the wind. It would have probably normally almost definitely without a doubt given you some kind of idea but you’re grumpy and idealess.
Backspace. Backspace. Backspace. Backspace.
You keep pressing backspace until the computer starts making the dull noise to tell you there’s nothing left to delete.
It’s like suddenly forgetting how to tie your own shoelaces. It’s like forgetting the answer to the pub quiz you know you know the answer to. It’s like losing your house keys. It’s like asking somebody’s name but immediately forgetting. It’s like going to the shop to buy the ingredients to make dinner and getting home to discover you left the meat at the supermarket. It’s temporary memory loss, but knowing what you need to remember. It’s on the tip of your tongue. It’s behind the next door, you’re sure of it. In the next cupboard, under the next magazine. You’re sure you didn’t throw it away. It’s at the back of the room you never go in, behind all the cardboard boxes and clothes you haven’t worn for 10 years because they don’t fit you anymore. It’s there, somewhere. You know it.
The page is still blank.
How can ‘and’ look so wrong?
Backspace. Backspace. Backspace.
And the piece is finished.