Down Days.

You’re sitting in front of the computer. You can see the incessant flicker of the cursor. It’s taunting you. Just sitting there on an otherwise blank page. Like a beacon alerting you the rocky cliffs. Like a Siren, calling you to your demise. The clock ticks away the seconds. You blink. Another minute has passed. You’re still sitting there, staring at a blank screen with nothing to write.

These days don’t come so frequently for me, thank goodness. When they do, it’s not so much not having anything to write about, as not being able to pick the one thing I do want to write about. It’s not a block, so much as as unstoppable flood threatening to take over my screen with a jumble of words and little sense. So what do we do about it?

 

There are literally over ten million sites to assist with writer’s block, according to the Google gods and supposedly over twenty-one million on writer’s flood. Not too many of them really cover how to stem the flow to a useable trickle. I try and write down the ideas that come to my mind in a list. This ends up becoming an explosion of a mind map covering the entire notebook. Not so easy to turn into a piece of prose for others to read… unless I scan the pages and publish them. Then you all have to try and make sense of my chicken scratchings for yourselves.

Instead, I am trying to keep up with the ideas as they flow into my mind. Write until the flow for that train of thought stops, move on to the next. It is for that reason I have a lot of half-fleshed out text files saved on my computer. Bits and pieces that in a non-digital frame would have been scraps of paper stuffed into a bulging notebook. I would have been comparable to William S. Burroughs and his cut and clip format for making stories. Except, not physically published… and significantly less drug use… and talking typewriters…

So the digital form of scraps of paper have become text files scattered over a desktop. They sit there like a chrysalis, waiting. Paused in suspended animation, for the day that moment of magical metamorphosis takes place and they can fly free, except these digital butterflies have a much longer lifespan than just a few days. Their glory may only last that long, but they exist forever in the backlogs of the Web waiting, like a corpse to be reanimated by a necromancer’s incantations, or smiled upon by the Google Gods once more.

So for now, I shall go back to my digital scraps and see what I can make of them. I might leave them for the rainy days when inspiration is low and attention can be mustered. Alternatively, I might leave them as a digital breadcrumb trail to the gingerbread house of Ideas…

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