Some writers insist there is no such thing as writer’s block, and they are blessed with steady production for as long as their writing careers last. Not every writer is so lucky. Writer’s block can strike at any time, for any reason. Sometimes it lasts for a few hours. Sometimes it goes on for a day, or a week, or a month. When it goes on for more than a year it can jeopardize the writer’s career and make them question everything they ever put on paper.
Writer’s block doesn’t mean you can’t write any more ever. It means that for whatever reasons, the idea train isn’t leaving the station. There are myriad articles describing methods of jump-starting stalled creativity, but the same answers don’t work for everyone. Keeping on creating is a very personal and individual process for every writer, and sometimes it’s possible to try too hard and make the problem worse.
It was October, and I had just finished my second novel. I sat at my desktop computer waiting for inspiration to strike, but nothing was coming from my fingertips. What was I going to do for my next book? I had nothing. No new ideas, no fresh emotion, nothing I felt passionately about to set down on the page. I was empty. The blank white screen was mocking me, intimidating me. I held down a key and a stream of Ks raced across the page. There, no more emptiness, but I still didn’t have a book to write. I deleted the page and opened a fresh new page–another blank space. I needed a break from the emptiness on the page that mirrored the emptiness inside me.
I checked my email. I read the news. I made sure there was no frost tonight in the weather forecast. Then I went to YouTube. Cute animals provided me with twenty minutes of distraction, but I still had forty minutes left of writing time. I examined the thumbnails on the right side of the page. Mixed in with pet cats and dogs were various wild creatures, and one of them looked very unlikely. It was a fish, but a fish like I had never seen before. It had to be a fake, a movie special effect or something. I selected the video and watched the long, sinuous eellike body, the strange rippling fin, the staring robot eyes. This thing was no fake, it was real–a weird, ugly fish I would have a nightmare about that night.
But I had my inspiration, my evil force, my “bad guy” which would inspire the book I was about to write. I closed my browser and started typing furiously. That’s how Eve of Darkness was born.