This morning, I sat down to write, intending to work on a story I’d started a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn’t find it. I can only guess it’s on the other computer, but that left me with a problem. I was unexpectedly catapulted into ‘White Page Syndrome,’ you probably know what I’m talking about, but in case not, here is some medical detail, because the Internet is a great tool for self-diagnosis after all.
According to many eminent doctors, White Page Syndrome affects 97% of writers at some point in their life. Unless they are fortunate enough to take dictation straight from God, but that brings it’s own problems, as Mohammed would probably agree.
Symptoms include, fidgeting, nose-picking, palpitations, shortness of breath, restlessness and an involuntary compulsion to do low-priority household tasks, like sewing up the holes in tea-towels and fishing goo out of plug holes with a crochet hook. Some resultant behaviours are harmless enough – doing repeated ‘Word Counts’ on works-in-progress and formatting the page to how it would look in a book is admittedly a waste of time, but causes no real damage. But in extreme cases you can develop a full-blown ‘Fraud Mentality’: that you will never write again, you never were a writer in the first place, and why on earth would anyone be interested in what you have to say anyway…
Familiar, at all?
If so, here’s something you should try. This is my ‘In Emergency Break Glass,’ exercise, and I used it this morning after an hour and a half of drawing blanks for ideas and progressing through an accelerated series of symptoms. It may not work for everybody, but I swear by it, and I hope it works for you too.