Blank page, empty mind: Musing on not writing

Blank Page, Empty Mind
Blank Page, Empty Mind

Well, here we are already. Its not even two months, and I am officially the Mayor of Struggle Town in Blog County.

By this, I mean I appear to have run out of ideas, I’m unable to think of a decent response to any prompts I see, and my novel and short stories have ground to a halt. Everything is derivative, or pointless, or even worse, weak.

Pause for violins (is there a WordPress widget for violins?).

Of course, this is terribly frustrating. Am I so limited in imagination that I can’t event get to fifty blog posts? Should I quit?

Pause for compliments (as this is clearly fishing).

No. I’m not going to quit.

Pause for cheers.

I expected this lull, I’m almost surprised that it took longer than a week to get here. The whole point of this blog is to stretch my imaginative muscles every single day. And like a gym workout, there’s a point where it stops feeling good and starts to feel hard. But that shouldn’t stop me from trying to be at least interesting every day.

I shall not be a slave to my muse, she is my employee, she works for me. Like all workers, you have to treat her with respect, but she’s got to pull her own weight at this company. #nofreerides

So now what?

Well its time for some introspection. I need to look at why these things have stalled, and consider what I need to do to mix things up a bit. This might take a bit, epiphanies don’t come from nothing. You need to put the effort in.

For a start, the ‘short story’ I have planned has been on hiatus during my sickness, and now I have spent time away, I can see it is dreadfully dull, awfully boring, and its not even one thousand words long. So, my plan is:

  • Change my fucking writing music – for some reason I’ve been sitting in a cloud of easy listening and unable to change stations. Seriously, its Air Supply and Chicago hell in my headphones at the moment. So, I’ve clicked the iTunes Radio to find random stuff based on Avenged Sevenfold and 16 Volt, and this post has been the result. I already think its working.
  • Gut the short story, and get the good stuff right at the start. The piece was intended to be an ‘atmospheric piece’ for submission to the Autumn Cthulhu  book of short stories – I hoped that I could evoke the gothic feel of Lovecraft, whilst also tipping the hat towards the ‘Autumn’ theme (bear in mind it’s currently Spring here in Australia, but what the hell). I was, and may still write this as an epistolary story (a bunch of letters telling the tale), but I started it too early, added too much other stuff and its dreadfully dry. I think I might miss the deadline – disappointing but that’s what happens. If I do miss it I’ll post it here (probably split up in a sequence). Or maybe I’ll change everything – maybe I make this less gothic and simply have it dripping blood from start to finish – less Lovecraft and more Clive Barker*. Whatever, I’m determined to finish with something I’m happy for other people to read, even if it’s on my blog and not in a publication.
  • Finish this season of Dexter with my note book open. My wife, as awesome as she is, borrowed the last season of Dexter from the library, and we have been watching an episode a night. Great, but it cuts an hour out of my writing time. So if I at least have the notebook open, if I find some hook, some twist that I like that I can note down, then its not a complete loss.
  • Use all of this stuff and fucking write. Write about my music (a particular song), write about the frustration of my fourth false start on the short story, write about failing to hit deadlines, and write about how stupid the plot is in late season Dexter (seriously, has Deb had a head injury?). Write it down, translate the anger it into fiction, and let it fly. Swing the knife, let the blood hit the walls.

Pause for… a breath. For sleep. Is it only half past eleven at night? It feels later…

Thanks for sitting through my rant.

If anyone has tips on how to get over these hurdles, I’d love to hear them. Have you had success at getting your muse to fire up after a lull, or how you might repair a hopelessly broken story, let me know!

*Oooh, Clive Barker. I have to re-read the Books of Blood – the best horror short stories I have ever read and well worth your time. Rawhead Rex, The Midnight Meat Train, The Forbidden (which was filmed as ‘Candyman’)… Hell yeah. I’m slipping these books into the rotation of my TBR list.

Published by: wildbilbo

My name is Kristian Thoroughgood, alternately known as KT to my friends, or @WildBilbo on twitter. As of August 2015, I am forty years old. Australian. My blog is intended to be both a place for me to polish my creative writing muscles (not a double entendre) and for others to read and comment on my musings. Expect short stories, articles, essays and other brain dumps. My opinions are my own, and whilst I take care to be at least moderately informed about any topic I speak or write about, these opinions are subject to rapid change in the face of passionate arguments and greater evidence. Please note - on my blog, Evidence beats Passion.

Categories Toolbox, WritingTags, , , , , , , , , , , 7 Comments

7 thoughts on “Blank page, empty mind: Musing on not writing”

  1. I’m not a big believer in forcing anything. Embrace the lull and fill it with some reading! I also find that mindless physical activity causes some pretty cool mind meanderings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lovely idea, but I could read my life away! But maybe fitting a little more in is a good way of changing things up. I can always trade in the FB & Twitter time!

      And mindless physical activity is another good option… I’ve been meaning to get some weights again, help out with the diet & weight loss, maybe clear the cobwebs…


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Understanding that we are by no means professional writers..but do use music for certain posts of emotion….if you were nottt kidding about your previous music, and are now listening to the ummm, good stuff….that alone should help immensely. Chicago? Air Supply? LOL!!! Nothing like feeling bad prom aura all around Plus there is always sex.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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