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Writer on Writing: Climbing mountains and the blank page

Is there anything more daunting for a writer that staring at the empty space of a blank page and trying to conjure up words to fill it?

I’m always reminded of Kevin Bacon in “The Big Picture.” There’s a scene where he’s sitting at his 1980s computer, staring at a blank page as he struggles to start his next movie script.

It’s a reminder to me that all writers often feel the same way. There’s a struggle and weight to trying to create something out of nothing. We all experience it at some point or another. Struggle with it. It’s like standing at the base of a mountain and looking up and the clouds are covering the peak and you have no idea just how high you’ll have to go before you get there.

However, once you get going, it doesn’t get easier.

For all the fun and joy and accomplishment that comes with writing, at least for me, there’s always this weight. It sits on your shoulders, and you’re lugging it along up this hill. You carry it, this heavy load. And you sometimes can’t look up to see how far you’ve got left, because that doesn’t help. And you can’t keep looking back because that just slows you down.

Instead, you watch your feet as they trudge forward, one slow step after another. And every now and again you see something on the ground and you want to stop and look at it. But you can’t. Because you need to get to the top of that hill.

The top. Oh, that wonderful, satisfying yet elusive peak.

There’s happiness to be found there. There’s success. It’s waiting for you. The sense that you’ve achieved something. And then you get there, and you look back and you see all that distance you traveled. And, of course, from up there its easy to see where you started and all the obstacles you fought through and conquered.

Then, however, you turn and realize it’s not over yet. Because now you need to get back down. You need to do something with this thing you’ve made. You need to tell people that you’ve climbed that mountain and get them to climb the mountain, too.

In time you get back to the bottom. You leave the mountain behind. You move along flat land… in search of that next mountain to climb. That new load to carry. And new peak to reach.

Published inRamblings

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