While I didn’t win the writing prompt contest over at Reedsy, I had a lot of fun writing this piece on writer’s block.
Sitting at my desk, my hands hovered over the keyboard as I struggled to come up with a paragraph, no a sentence. Maybe even a word for my story. Inside my head my characters were vivid, I even had an ending picked out for my story. What I didn’t have is a now. What was happening to my characters? 1 month to write a story and my dreaded enemy reared its head. Every writer’s dreaded enemy.
In the past, it has paid its visits like it has to all writers but I couldn’t afford that now. I was halfway through the month and all I had to my story was a few pages. With how many times I had been through this story I finally thought I had something here. The beginning that I had crafted this time was perfect. Everything else had to be perfect too. Maybe I was finally ready to move on from rough drafts.
Something needed to change and it needed to change yesterday. Then, in the corner of my eye, movement caught my attention and I looked up from my keyboard contemplation to the hallway outside my door. Nothing was there. No one should be there, I was home alone after all.
Attention back to the keyboard the letters formed words in my head but nothing that made sense. Cailin, Chelsea, Taylor, Becca, all of these characters I knew them so well. Why couldn’t keys start mashing? Why couldn’t I get something down on “paper”.
A knock on the door frame brought my attention back up to the hallway.
“Can I come in.” The voice was one that I knew in my heart and mind but not one that I had ever really heard.
“Um…” I started to respond.
“That wasn’t really a question,” Chelsea said as she entered the room.
Standing taller than me by a few inches, with a physically fit body, and impressive tattoos, Chelsea was intimidating. She was also just like I had always pictured her. A white dress that fit her perfectly, muscles complimenting her physique. The twin to her brother Cailin, she was the action-minded, stubborn twin. She cared but she had her own way of showing it. She was my creation though and there was no logical explanation for her to be standing in front of me. My heart skipped a beat for every author loves their characters.
“We have to talk,” Chelsea stated in a serious tone as she took a seat at the desk across from mine. “This story that you are writing is important to you, yes? You have been writing it for so long that I think that should be obvious.”
I nodded. “Since middle school, I have been working to tell the stories of you and Cailin but I haven’t had it right.”
“This time you are close to telling it the way it was meant to be told. The way it should be. But you have to stop sitting here feeling sorry for yourself. Sorry that you can’t think of what to write. Your job is not to think, it is just to write. If you think too hard, then you are cutting off your imagination. Just let it flow from you.”
I looked at her like she must be kidding me. How is it possible to not think about something and just let it happen?
I thought about that then realized that I was thinking about it. That was counter to what she had said to do. Looking up I found that Chelsea was staring at me with those piercing red eyes that she normally kept reserved for those moments that she was trying to make an important point.
“I don’t think you realize what is at stakes. For you, this is just a story. Me on the other hand, this is my life. With each word, you are breathing life into my world. Each new person that reads your story learns about us and gives us more life. We need to be read.”
“How are you even here right now?” I ventured to ask.
“I am here because you believe in me. You think that I am real, if only in your mind.” She answered. “I may only be real to you but I am real.”
“Of the characters in my book, why did you come to me?” I asked.
“Because I am who you needed right now. The right woman for the job, you might say.” Her voice had dropped to something more caring.
Not knowing if I was crazy or not I took another look at this girl who had been part of my writing for years. Her story came into my head as I looked at her. I started to type without looking at the keyboard, a skill that I had mastered years ago. Then as the story flooded my head I had to look down at the keyboard and up to the screen to make sure that I didn’t get ahead of myself.
A few pages down and I looked back up to the office chair that she had been sitting in. The chair spun around slowly, Chelsea was gone. A pang of sadness hit at me, I would have loved to get to know her more. To talk with her some more.
“I will always be there.” Came her voice, faint as if my hallway continued on for ages.
When she said it though, I knew it would be true. She would always be with me, she had always been with me. My fingers went back to their job and a moment later, so did all of my attention. Passion flowing out into the keys as I set to work on the middle of my story. Breathing life into what might just be the final draft.