I am currently working on an e-mystery set in 1927. My hero, if he can be called that, is a writer for Paramount Studio. He is writing that newfound thing called a screenplay, a continuity script with dialogue, which actors must speak since talking pictures are coming faster than you can say Al Jolson. I thought this brief scene would be familiar to writers, so I thought I would share.
“Back in my closet-office the next day I sat down to work on a new story. I had not heard from Matt Hobby, my supposed writing partner; his supposition, not mine, so was glad to delve into a story in the privacy of my own imagination. The problem is that the first hour my fingers never touched my typewriter. The blank piece of bright white paper glared at me, challenging me; no it was taunting me, saying, you think you’re so smart, here I am, fill me with words, with ideas, with action, with, oh my God, dialogue. You can’t do it can you Bud? Go ahead; soil my whiteness with dark ink splattering my purity.
There is a fine line between writing, or any artistic endeavor, and madness. It is a side effect of the creative mind. Not wanting to go mad, I decided to rip out the insidious white sheet, crumble it into a ball and toss it in the waste basket. At least if anyone comes in they will think I had been working. Then I stared at the wall trying to regain my sanity, to stay clear of the madness of listening to an imaginary conversation with a piece of paper. Then I realized I am a screenwriter, therefore I am not artistic, and so my madness must come from another source. I crumbled up more paper and filled the basket halfway. I found it stimulating. Just look at the trash. I have been busy writing, rewriting, not satisfied with what I had been doing, but striving for perfection, the best scene, the best dialogue.
I went to lunch.”
I think you writers are familiar with my fictional screenwriter. It is an affliction for all kinds of writers, whether poets, fiction or nonfiction writers. The white sheet was daunting for my writer. For me it is the white page in Microsoft Word. The more things change with technology the insecurities still remain. But my fictional character overcame his problem after lunch. I overcame mine-many times- the affliction creeps back, and I must keep at it. But I did finish some e-novels. They are at Amazon.