[Oneshot] Blank Page Syndrome
- I should know this. I know I know this. So why can’t I do it? I could be here, hammering away on my keyboard, making progress in leaps and bounds, but instead I’m stuck; staring at the screen in some variation of blank page syndrome.
- Conceptually, I understand what I need to do. In fact, were I trying to implement it in my usual style, it would be easy. I can already perceive my thoughts arranging themselves into the structure I would use in that case. I could be done in just ten or twenty minutes. But I’m not using that style. I’ve been asked to go back to basics for this task. The problem is I’ve spent so much time working in my more complex environment that the simpler environment feels completely alien to me.
- Is it just the unfamiliarity throwing me off? Or have I forgotten it entirely? Maybe I’m just not as knowledgeable as I thought I was? It could be that. I look at what I have already. Most of what I’ve written is lean meat I attached to a skeleton I was given. If I think about it, I don’t even think I would know what to do if I had to write this from scratch. Where would I even begin? I don’t even know how to do the main thing off the top of my head. And if I had to do something more complicated, I’d need a reference anyway.
- This is hopeless. How can I be unable to do neither the simple nor the complex? Does that mean I’m unable to do anything? But if that’s true, then how did I get to this point unscathed? I’ve been doing this line of work for three years now; how can it be the case that I’ve gone through all of that and yet not learned a single thing of any note? I see others in my field performing magical feats on a day-to-day basis. How can they be doing that while I’m sitting here, completely blanking at the simplest thing?
- Just how much time and effort have they invested into this field? Obviously it can’t just be the hours asked of us by our superiors, since that’s pretty much all I’ve done and look at my situation. Are they that passionate that they live and breathe work? Do they come home from days of typing away at a screen just to type, type, and type some more? I can’t imagine such a thing.
- Or is it that I haven’t invested enough time? Then again, why would I? Once upon a time I did, that much is true. Over time, though, that investment has dwindled and dwindled to the point where I struggle event to allocate effort even when I’m at work. Has my passion dried up? Has my investment been bankrupted? Why now, in the final stretch? It makes me wonder if my counting the time that’s left of my tenure is because I’m anticipating its completion and what further prospects may exist, or whether it’s because I’m anticipating being freed from its grasp.
- As much as I may try to deny it, at this point I believe it to be the latter. I really am looking forward to when it’s over more than what is yet to come. Why, then, am I still here? The obvious answer is a sense of duty to my commitment, to the relationships that I’ve formed here; but perhaps the underlying reason is of a fear of giving up. In a way it’s amusing; I’ve given up on doing everything except the minimum effort to be considered ‘not having given up’.
- Where do I go from here? What do I do? I am so lost. How can I simply stop walking in the direction I face if I don’t even know which other way to go? What other option do I have? I sigh into my hands and look back at the screen. As expected, it’s completely unchanged. It’s no use worrying about my doubts. They can be put on hold for now. I can deal with it tomorrow. Procrastination be damned; this work isn’t going to complete itself.
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