The Submit Button


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Submit Button

By Nandy Ekle

I have one huge phobia, and that’s spiders. Yeah, that’s right. I openly admit this phobia. I always say that I am not ashamed and am actually very comfortable with my pet phobia.

There is one other thing that frightens me a little, and that is the submit button. This one little thing can paralyze me as completely as a single spider can. I can not count the times my hand has hovered over the button while my brain tries to talk me out of pushing it. “Don’t do it,” it says. “They’ll laugh.” It continues. Then the organ inside my head turns ugly. “You know the story still isn’t right. There’s gaping plot holes and unbelievable dialogue. And your grammar and punctuation are no better than a third grader.”

If my finger still aims at that little button, my gray matter turns mean and hateful. “Who are you kidding? You can’t write a story. Just listen to your so-called style. This is just a silly waste of time and paper. Are you sure you want to bear your soul to strangers so they can laugh at you and point at you? You’re nothing but a useless blob behind a computer keyboard with delusions of grandeur.”

Sometimes I believe the whole spiel. I let all that bullying talk freeze my hand and stop my breathing. Just like seeing a giant spider, my fingers curl back into my hand and I close the computer lid and do something else.

But sometimes I turn on some music and remember the promise I made to my characters to find them a home. Then I close my eyes and . . . push submit. Air rushes into my lungs and my arms feel as though they could lift a house. That’s when I know my success is not whether or not my work is accepted. My success is in squashing the monster.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

The Submit Button


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Submit Button

By Nandy Ekle

I have one huge phobia, and that’s spiders. Yeah, that’s right. I openly admit this phobia. I always say that I am not ashamed and am actually very comfortable with my pet phobia.

There is one other thing that frightens me a little, and that is the submit button. This one little thing can paralyze me as completely as a single spider can. I can not count the times my hand has hovered over the button while my brain tries to talk me out of pushing it. “Don’t do it,” it says. “They’ll laugh.” It continues. Then the organ inside my head turns ugly. “You know the story still isn’t right. There’s gaping plot holes and unbelievable dialogue. And your grammar and punctuation are no better than a third grader.”

If my finger still aims at that little button, my gray matter turns mean and hateful. “Who are you kidding? You can’t write a story. Just listen to your so-called style. This is just a silly waste of time and paper. Are you sure you want to bear your soul to strangers so they can laugh at you and point at you? You’re nothing but a useless blob behind a computer keyboard with delusions of grandeur.”

Sometimes I believe the whole spiel. I let all that bullying talk freeze my hand and stop my breathing. Just like seeing a giant spider, my fingers curl back into my hand and I close the computer lid and do something else.

But sometimes I turn on some music and remember the promise I made to my characters to find them a home. Then I close my eyes and . . . push submit. Air rushes into my lungs and my arms feel as though they could lift a house. That’s when I know my success is not whether or not my work is accepted. My success is in squashing the monster.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Stuck


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Stuck

By Nandy Ekle

Writer’s block. It’s almost as scary a word as “spider.” In fact I’ve used the image of a huge hairy spider to describe writer’s block.

This time I discovered an exercise to help cut a hole through the wall between me and my words. I wrote a little essay describing my plight.

“I’m looking through a window in a door and I see all the characters I ever wrote. They’re all frozen just like the commercial about digital photos that are never downloaded from the camera. Some are frozen in mid jump, some are frozen in mid dialogue, some are frozen in their tears. What a painful way to freeze. I see pleadings in their eyes, pleading me to set them free and let them live out their stories, but I am helpless.

Maybe that’s why this coldness is so frightening. I can’t do anything to help them. The words I have played with all my life are locked up in the toy cabinet across the hall and a huge spider guards them. I must find the key to get them back out!”

As soon as I finished the essay, I wrote a character sketch for my latest story. In doing so, I worked out the problems with the plot.

If you have a wall between you and your words, write something. It will break the wall, allowing your story to write itself.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.