I stared at the blinking cursor, waiting for a brilliant idea to pop into my head. It was Wednesday morning, and I was trying to think of something to write for my blog. My eyes started to water from staring at the screen for so long. But still I sat, and stared, and waited. Finally, after several hours, I closed the Word document without having written a single word.
“It’s alright,” I told myself. “I can think of something later.”
Wednesday passed without me writing a word. And then the next Wednesday. The days started to tick by without any posts written. Thursday. Friday. Saturday.
It wasn’t just my blog that suffered. It was everything else. My WIP was floundering. My journals strangely empty. My brain, hitting a brick wall. My green and gold dragon muse with iridescent wings had flown off and left me in it’s dust.
For several weeks before Christmas, I had stopped writing, mainly because my sisters were coming home for the holidays, and with two new people in the house, the norm was turned on its head and shaken. So I abandoned my muse and left her to sit in a corner and gather dust.
The weeks went by, and after they left, I started to write again. But I just wasn’t feeling it. my muse was not happy that I had left her. And so, like muses are known to do, she flew away, leaving me empty handed.
I started to panic as this new feeling filled me. What was it? It was something I had never felt before. An ugly monster reared its head and leered down at me. And its name was ‘I’m Out of Ideas.’
Now, I’m not lying. Never had I faced this beast before. Sure, I’ve run into the dreaded, nine-legged, chartreuse octopus named ‘Writer’s Block’, but my mind had never run out of ideas before. Even when I had hit a wall with a story, a fresh idea would come and tap me on the shoulder, leading me away on a merry chase until something new popped up for the original project. My muse had abandoned me in No Man’s Land.
I grew bored. And scared. And depressed. I wept and moaned, and generally just laid about and felt sorry for myself. What was I without my writing? I didn’t really have any other talents. Except for knitting. But what good would that do me, when the one thing I wanted most in the world was to be an author? And a super-cool one at that?
This self-pity went on for a while until one morning I woke up and told myself, “No more! You, Yakira, are going to get up and write. No excuses.” So, after going through my morning routine, I sat down at the computer and opened my WIP that left me trembling like a newborn calf stuck on Route 1 with all the vehicles going at ninety miles an hour. And I wrote. The going was slow at first, but once I fell into a rhythm, I was able to write two whole pages. My little calf self moved around those Mac trucks like quicksilver, wrestled the monster ‘I’m Out of Ideas’ to the ground, socked ‘Writer’s Block’ in the jaw, and landed at the end of the rainbow of Inspiration in a pile of delicious, warm, fresh-baked-bread-smelling words.
It was in that moment that I realized the awful, wonderful truth. In order to dip a ladle into the well, you’ve got to pick up the ladle. You can’t just wait for your muse to pick you up and carry you to the land of Imagination. You’ve got to climb onto it’s back and fight the wicked monsters that threaten to crush all of your writing dreams.
Don’t wait for Opportunity to knock. Instead, grab it by the collar, slam it face-down on the table, and demand it hand over everything it owns. Even if that everything is something simple, like a handful of words. Only by wading through treacherous waters will you be able to leap across mountains. Baby steps, folks. Baby steps.
There was a lesson to be learned over these last few weeks. And I’m sure my wonderful brain will try and make me learn it again. Write like you mean it. Don’t sit around and moan and groan with self-pity when no ideas come. Don’t scroll through Facebook with a dead-eyed stare when you could be writing. Don’t stop writing every day. Writing is like ballet. Only with practice can things get easier. The less you practice, the more rusty you get. And the more you let the rust grow, the more you’ll squeal and stick. Write those five words. Write in your diary or journal. Write out what you see and hear. Don’t let your muse get dusty. Let it fly.
If you write like you mean it, your little gray pony can flourish into a full-fledged unicorn, complete with shiny horn.