Blinking Cursor Syndrome

October 22, 2015 § Leave a comment


Lyra writes,

Please help me. I have Blinking Cursor Syndrome and I don’t know what to do with myself. No matter what I’m writing, it will always (and I mean ALWAYS) turn into a fanfiction mid-sentence. Even when I had a really good idea for a book that might become successful one day, it turned into my most recent fanfic. I also have a problem with trying to get into other types of fiction/fandoms. Since I am currently obsessed with Hetalia, it is hard for me to watch a movie, read a book, look at a comic, or watching a show, without applying the characters onto other characters in that fictional universe. Any advice for how to fix this obsession? I really need your help with this. 

Lyra, our favorite characters are like limbs to us. I don’t have to think about my right hand to pick up a coffee cup or text a friend, because it’s mine. In the same way, when you spend months dedicating your brain to knowing every detail, every emotion of a fictional character, writing about them is as simple as scratching your head. Asking yourself to switch gears and write about anyone else is like transplanting someone else’s arm onto your body. It feels alien at first. You pick up a lightsaber and you realize you’ve got to do some retraining.

Sometimes we creates stories because it’s fun and easy. The words literally leap out of our brains onto the page. Other times we write to challenge ourselves. To take bold leaps into new territory. Lyra, I suggest that you sit down and give yourself permission to spend some time being challenged. Let yourself write the most absolutely horrible story: bad characterization, bad sentences, bad everything. When you show up and flex those fic-writing muscles, your brain will catch up. You’ll have your favorites when you need a little bit of comfort, but you’ll also feel less of the pull to put on the training wheels when a new idea feels too daunting.

As Amy Poehler wrote, “Great people do things before they’re ready.” The same applies to writing. Write characters before you know everything about them. Start a story before you know the ending. The best part about being a fangirl is handing over your brain and your heart to uncharted narratives, and a great writer lives her life the same way.

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