Hey everybody. Sam here contacted me the other day wondering if he could write a guest post here this humble little blog. Now, I don’t think I’ve ever had a guest post before, but what he wrote was pretty good and I haven’t exactly said much here lately. So, why not give him a read, leave him some comments, and visit his blog.
Struggling at Writing
by Sam Westreich
It was a dark and stormy night. Thunder boomed outside the windows, rattling the panes of glass. I could hear the wind howling around the steeple of the tower as I bent over the heavy desk. No, that’s not original enough – storms have been way overused. I need a more original beginning.
Maybe I’m on a boat? I hunched over the desk in the captain’s quarters, struggling to read the charts by the light of a single candle. The ship tossed and turned on the churning seas, the waves whipped into an angry froth by the relentless gale. The crew had battened down the hatches and tied off the sails as best they could, and were cowering in their quarters, waiting for the storm to pass. Nope. I sound like freaking Captain Ahab.
All right, scratch the whole storm. Let’s start things off with a bit of character insight. Sitting alone at the bar, I peered into my glass of amber. The soft clink of the ice cubes pierced my head, bringing me back to the day when explosions had echoed all around me. I remembered running blindly forward through the smoke, clutching my rifle as friends fell on either side of me. I had blindly grasped the rifle in hopes that it would somehow save me, just as I now tightly gripped the glass tumbler. I took a deep swallow and let the emotion wash away. As should the rest of this. The character could be interesting, sure, but I still don’t have a plot.
I stare at the blank page on my screen, trying to will words into existence. My deadline is a speeding train, and I am paralyzed on the tracks. Isn’t writing supposed to be easy? My imagination is always flowing – except when I actually need an idea. This is when my mind chooses to go blank.
Staring forward, all I see at first is blankness. I blink several times, trying to adjust to the blinding light of the sun after my time indoors. No, after my time underground, that’s a better word. The blankness slowly resolved itself into a city street, buildings, cars, and signs swimming into focus. The city is eerily quiet; I can’t hear a single noise. No rumbling of cars, no chatter of distant conversation, no hiss or roar of ventilation systems. Nothing moves except for me. I am utterly alone.
My finger hovers over the backspace key, but I pause, rereading this first paragraph. I could have emerged after the Rapture, left behind, denied access to heaven. Maybe I have awakened from an induced coma, deep in a bunker below ground, and have emerged to find the rest of the world devastated by a deadly virus. Maybe this is the start of a zombie story, with the undead lurking around the next corner. Yes, this has potential. I remove my finger from the backspace key as I consider my next words.
Why is writing always a struggle? I have been working at it for years, and it never seems to come any easier to me. Yet despite the challenge I face each time I sit down to stare at a blank page, I will keep on trying, attempting, until it eventually becomes natural to me.
Sam Westreich is another struggling writer, who wants nothing more than to spend his days sitting outside a coffee shop in a busy city with a laptop, writing bestselling novels. Is that so much to ask? More of his work can be found at http://www.missingbrains.com/.