Staring at that first blank page, wondering what the hell you’re going to write about, has to be the most daunting starting line for any author.
Five years ago I re-entered the corporate workforce. I had been a successful independent marketing and communications consultant, but thanks to the downturn in the economy my entire client-base disappeared. I had resigned myself to killing my creative side and focusing on the greater good of a regular paycheck.
Realizing how unhappy this would make me, my better-half suggested that I write a book.
“Why the hell not? Everyone tells me how funny I am and how I tell a great story. How hard could it be?” He said to me.
So there I sat, in my newly created “author’s” office, with just the right amount of Arts & Crafts furniture, a few items that have sentimental value for me that would hopefully spark some sort of story. I carefully placed a picture of my mother, who had passed away when I was 21, to watch over me. I was set. Off I went.
And that damn blank page stared back at me. The cursor blinking at me and I was sure it was doing it in a taunting way. Like it was saying, “I friggin dare you to type one word.” So I did exactly that. I typed the word, “word”. I quickly deleted it.
I sat there for about 10 minutes, mulling things in my mind and decided the problem was hunger. I needed to make a sandwich. 10 minutes later, I returned, sandwich in hand and decided…well I couldn’t write and eat a sandwich at the same time, so I began going to my usual cyber haunts like CNN.com and Washingtonpost.com, getting caught up on my politics.
And then the spark hit me and I began to type. It was good. I was sure of it. I was working on the next, great American novel. Move over J.K. Rowling, I was the new sheriff in town. After I had written several pages I stopped and sat back satisfied. This writing stuff wasn’t so hard and to prove it, I would reread what I had just created and allow myself to be amazed at my brilliance.
I had written the start of a story, about a little girl, alone in her room, at night. She was startled awake by a huge crack of lighting and thunder, she had a premonition that her father was going to die.
It sounded familiar…way too familiar…. It was stormy… at night…. Shit! I had just written my own version of “It was a dark and stormy night…” Perfect. I tore up the printed copies of my “masterpiece”, shut my computer down and walked out of the room. It took me a month to return to my “author’s” office when inspiration struck me in the form of Muse Unexpected.