Have you ever stared at a blank page with the conviction that you just can’t write anymore? Okay, so you’ve finished many manuscripts--novels, novellas, short stories--been there, done that. But now, at this very instant, you are certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have lost the touch.
Rejection doesn’t hold any fear for me. I’ve had enough truly scary experiences in life to know what matters, and it’s not about gaining any one person’s approval. But facing a blank page when I’ve been in editing mode for weeks, or maybe even taken a couple weeks off to deal with a backlog of errands, chores, unpaid bills--now that’s frightening.
Because maybe I just can’t do it anymore. Maybe the muse has left for good this time. Maybe if I do write, it will be so horrific, so completely without merit, that I’ll throw in the towel for a life as a professional chick sexer This job actually exists. I know, because one of my friends in grad school kept coming up with that on his career profile tests. What does that say about a person? I figure this would be a perfect job for an out of work erotic romance writer.
Now that’s fear. So I stare at the page. I demand that my muse appear. I threaten her with nipple clamps, handcuffs, whips, and hours of disco music. Then I bribe, entreat, beg, and wheedle, promising her wine and cheese, Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream, Bach, Maroon 5, anything her little creative heart desires!
But the evil little thing is on vacation in Florida, or Europe--anywhere but Wisconsin in February. So I force myself to type a sentence without her. It’s awful. It may well be the very worst sentence I’ve ever written in my life. But I keep typing, clacking away at the keyboard. And I eventually get a sentence or two I like. And hey, that scene with the fruit and honey in the bathtub, wow, very kinky. I like it.
Disaster averted. I’ve once again pressed past the fear factor, muse or no muse. And in the winter, it’s much more likely to be just little old me, muse-less, typing away. But at least the fear’s gone. Until the next time I start a new manuscript…