Do you ever find yourself staring at the proverbial blank page, whatever your blank page is?  Mine is, literally, a blank page (sometimes it is a filled page to be edited, not to add in too many confusing variables here). My blank page hasn’t gotten much attention in the last week.  I was sick with the stomach flu.  A few positive things did come out of the experience:

* My unwashed hair is shiny and bright (or is that greasy and oily?)
* I lost three pounds — bring on the bikini
* I was able to stay off my injured “ultra marathoner’s” foot for four days of healing

Despite the positives, I wouldn’t recommend the experience.  I felt like a sticky larvae, cocooned in my blankets in a pupa-state of non-productivity.  I may have emerged a shiny and thinner butterfly, but I had too many days to think about everything I wasn’t getting done.

Today is the first day I have been able to sit upright with my laptop and pull myself back into life, albeit cautiously and in bursts.  I woke up excited to write but with other must-do’s weighing on me.  I was, in fact, so jazzed about writing that I dreamed of it last night — as in I dreamed the actual words while my sleeping mind wrote them, down to dialogue and a word count display in Microsoft Word (I got to 4,513).

Unfortunately, my “night mind” was working on a new book — Young Adult genre — and that is not only unhelpful to me on Going for Kona today, but also I can’t remember a bit of the darn YA book this morning to make notes on it for later inspiration. #useless

So, it took me four hours to get everything done that was on the must-do-before-I-write list, before I pulled the blank page up in front of me. And I was stumbling, struggling, bumbling, and doing anything but writing for an hour after that, until the words of a song came into my head, a song I haven’t listened to in several years: “What You Waiting For” by Gwen Stefani, from her album Love.Angel.Music.Baby. (which effectively cross-marketed her “L.A.M.B.” clothing line — there’s a lesson to be learned there, too).

Here are a few of the lyrics she wrote about leaving the safety of a successful band, No Doubt, to write and record her first solo album:

Like a cat in heat, stuck in a moving car
A scary conversation, shut my eyes, can’t find the brake
What if they say that you’re a cloner
Naturally, I’m worried if I do it alone
Who really cares, cause it’s your life
You never know, it could be great
Take a chance cause you might grow
Oh, ah, oh

What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting for

Tick-tock, tick-tock
Tick-tock, tick-tock
Take a chance you stupid hoe

Like an echo pedal, you’re repeating yourself
You know it all by heart
Why are you standing in one place

Other than I wouldn’t call myself a “stupid hoe” (ha), this is how I feel about moving gradually from the consulting world, and the company I started with a partner 14 years ago, to an attempt to write — my version of “going solo” — and launch a new career as a novelist.

As I stare at the blank page, I wonder why I’m standing in one place with the same words of procrastination and self-doubt echoing in my head.

Pamela, what are you waiting for?

What are we all waiting for?

Tick-tock, do it now, or you may miss your chance.  Tomorrow is not a certainty — you could get the stomach flu again, or worse.  Go find your inner Harajuku girl and write, right now, even if the writing is just words to fill a page; do it, and later, make it perfect.

Ciao, friends. I have to go fill that blank page.  What about you?

Pamelot

 

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