ring when the house is quiet. There’s a story in there, building up pressure,
swelling with life, ready to sprout and grow into words that will inspire,
enrich, and awe the world. In your mind it bubbles and steams, releasing its
perfume into your soul.
But alas, life gets in the way. We are earthly creatures bound by
the inconveniences of this life. Horrid time consuming habits like the need to
eat, or do laundry, or a thousand other piddly things. So you feed your ideas as
you stack the dishes in the cupboard or pull down the last of the old cobwebs
from the ceiling fan. And then the most magnificent plot reveals itself. Your
heart jumps for joy. Just one more task before you must prepare dinner for a
starving and neglected family, then you can pour this story out onto paper; as
soon as the dishes are done and you get that nasty mess off the kitchen
You clearly see the beginning and the end and you can almost hear
the screams of delight at your movie opening, since your book was such a hit.
How could you have been so lucky to have discovered this miraculous story? Your
commitment to the craft has paid off, or at least it will as soon as you get
this story printed.
You’re tired, but you’re dedicated. You are, after all, a writer.
You must push onward to the task.
Finally you sit down at your desk – and stare at the blank screen
– and your mind is just as blank.
The story! Where did it go? Did it wash down the drain with the
dishwater? Did you accidentally sweep it up and dump into the trash? No! It was
that blank screen that scared your inspired words right out of your head.
Dastardly, terrible, clean paper waiting to be filled --- with nothing! It’s
Not that this very thing has ever happened to any of us at least
once. But what to do? Is there a solution to the mind wrecking disease known as
Of course there is.
Newborn ideas are shy creatures and must be introduced into the
world gently and guided carefully to maturity. Never, ever, for any reason, try
to force an infant idea onto the terrifying expanse of plain white paper, either
the once wooden kind or the electronic kind.
To properly introduce your fresh idea, you must obtain a stack of
those spiral notebooks, you know, the kind that sells for ten cents each at
those back to school sales. The cheaper the better. Stock up! Don’t forget to
pick up some of those inexpensive mechanical pencils either. Then scatter these
“Word Gardens” throughout the house, even in the car and the bathroom, and for
Pete’s sake, don’t forget to set one on the night stand. Clip one pencil to each
one so you never have to search for a scribble stick when a new idea drifts down
to you from Heaven.
But don’t reserve these treasure chests only for the inspired
word. Use them! Fill these sheets with simple things like the grocery list, or
your chore list, or a note to the significant other. Let these little books of
wonder gather dust and get a little wrinkled. Now they don’t look so terrifying.
This is where you write your freshest ideas. These rumpled pages aren’t as
intimidating and your words flow freely onto
Why does this work so well? Because those words know without a
doubt that you will love them so much that you will take care of them. You will
move them around on the page and write in the margins and stuff more notes in
the leaves of the notebook. And when your words have sprouted into something of
a story, they have the greatest confidence that you will not push them too fast
but cultivate them and allow them to mature. Then, as you copy these precious
words to your hard drive into files designed for your blessed editing process,
they will have the strength to grow into that block buster, best-selling
How do you fight off blankscreenitis?