On the Terrors of a Blank Screen

Yesterday I found myself staring at a blank screen.

See, on Scrivener each scene gets its own space and when I start a new scene, the screen is blank. And the last time I worked on the WiP, I stopped before I wrote a single word of the new scene. When I saw that blank screen, it scared me so much I just stared at it for a while. Would start to write something, change my mind, start again and stop, over and over and over again.

I have faced the blank screen before. I do it for every flash or short story I start. But yesterday it scared me more than it usually does.

It wasn’t writer’s block (not sure I believe in writer’s block anyway.) I knew what was going to happen in the scene, the characters, how they were going to react to each other, the layout of the room.  But I couldn’t get it on paper (screen).

Finally, I decided change what it shows me so I could see everything I’d written so far. That helped. I actually wrote a couple paragraphs. Of course I dumped half of what I wrote in the trash file (as opposed to deleting it entirely).

Managed a 100 something words before the headache got so bad I couldn’t write anymore.Better than nothing, but still, it’s not good.

I think the lesson I’ve learned here is to write a few lines in the next scene before stopping for the night.

10 thoughts on “On the Terrors of a Blank Screen

    1. What Cat said. I use the windows beta version of Scrivener, which is free. 🙂 Plus, there is yWriter, which is very similar to beta Scrivener, if you need something open source.

  1. Hah! The exact same thing almost happened to me today. The good part was, I got the first sentence down & the words just started coming out. When I hit the next new (blank) scene, it didn’t even faze me.

    Gotta get that writing done while Mason’s nappin’!

  2. I have Liquid Story Binder but thought I’d try out Scrivner too. I still need to play around and see if I can find a video to show how to use it. I know one of the authors I read has one somewhere on her blog.

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