The blank page and other Syndromes

When it comes to writing, I suffer from a lot of phobias, whether I like to admit it or not.

I found out that one of my pet hates has a proper name, I’m referring to the panic which comes over me as soon as I click on “Create new Document.” It’s comforting to know that I don’t suffer alone, if only I could work out how to say it, I could drop it into conversations. Now that it’s properly labelled, it can join the rest.

Here is the official definition,

Blankpage-o-phobia now has a name! Atelodemiourgiopapyrophobia – the fear of imperfect creative activity on paper. ‘Atelo’ from Greek ateles literally ‘without end’, meaning incomplete, inchoate, imperfect. … ‘Phobia‘ from Greek: φόβος, phóbos, meaning “fear” or “morbid fear”.

The fact that it has a name proves what I always suspected, that I wasn’t alone in hating the sight of a blank page staring at me when it’s time to write anything. I find that it’s almost as if there’s some sort of energy pushing my thoughts away, the whiteness and emptiness of the screen taunts me, daring me to think of a worthy subject and expound on it.

I remember the writer Eddie Braben (Morecambe and Wise) saying the thing he hated most about Mondays was staring at a sheet of paper, knowing he had to write a script by Friday.

The thing is, once you actually put the first word down, the fear goes away. Which should help you to learn that it’ll be alright next time. Except for some reason, it doesn’t. Maybe it’s because you’re only really as good as your last piece of work.

Leaving phobias for a moment (we’ll be back later), today is a day for celebration, despite the lack of inspiration, or maybe because of it. I’m at the end of one project and undecided which way to go next. I received the final edited version of Life and Other Dreams last week and after adding the front and back pages for the eBook and print versions, I sent it all off to be properly formatted.

Now I know I could use the tools that Amazon provides for free but in the past, I’ve seen that they don’t always work perfectly. This leaves you with the job of going through the novel umpteen times, repeating the procedure, one correction at a time. And very often, changing one thing results in some issue that spoils the reading experience. Such as the last word of a chapter appearing on a new page.

To be quite honest, I’m sick of the sight of the story by now, I’ve written and rewritten it, checked it for typo’s and grammar, I can almost recite it. Because of that, I’m blind to it and not really the right person to format it for consumption by the public. So now I send it all off and get it done, its more efficient and if there is a problem, its not my job to fix it.

As I don’t limit myself to selling on Amazon, I need more than one different filetype anyway, each one has its own quirks and requirements. Maybe one day I’ll learn, at the moment, I’m aware of my own limitations and happy to delegate.

While I’m waiting for the finished files to come back, I have to decide which project to get on with next, I have several to choose from, each with their own plus and minus points. Or I could do some marketing. There’s another phobia.

New Projects

I have sequels, five of them to be precise. All in various stages of writing. I also have readers asking me when they will be published, so they can catch up with the next part of the stories they have enjoyed so far. Which is nice but puts me under pressure to deliver something that’s as good as what’s already been read.

I have new projects, three of them. I’m really excited about them and full of ideas.

I have finished novels that need polish, four of them. All the hard work is done here, its just a case of tidying them up.

The easiest thing to do would be to polish the finished stuff. After all, the more novels I actually manage to publish and get out there, the more chance there will be of someone finding and reading one of them.

Because that’s the name of the game, I guess that makes marketing more important, especially as I have the new title being published shortly. I have sent out ARC copies and am awaiting the views of the readers. I’ve already had feedback from my wonderful beta team so I’m not too concerned about the story itself, but these guys are the ones who will (I hope) put reviews on websites for me. That alone is daunting, have I succeeded in what I wanted to do? does it all make sense? Is it going to be worth writing a sequel?

Moving on to my other major phobia, you can probably guess what it is. This time I can’t find a name for the fear of marketing, but again, I know I’m not the only sufferer. The thing with marketing is that I don’t like doing it, in fact I would say that I find it slightly distasteful.

I hate being marketed at and am no fan of the aggressive marketing you find all over social media, and in real life. My worry is that everyone my marketing is directed at will think that I’m the sort of person that I dislike. Also, and this is perhaps more relevant, I worry that should I persuade anyone to buy my book, and they don’t like it, I would be overcome by remorse and want to offer them a refund. Because, deep down inside, like a lot of the authors that I have spoken to, I suspect that my books are not good enough. And that, of course, is Imposter Syndrome.

And there’s enough there for a whole new post!

If you’d like to try Life and Other dreams for yourself, you can pre-order it now and you’ll receive it on Feb 15th. Just visit

Lastly, comes the fear of appearing to be boastful, my father always used to tell me to be modest in my achievements; hence I now resist the urge to share good reviews, in case you think that I’m showing off. Here are two for Life and Other Dreams, if you’ll excuse the self-promotion for a moment.

I’ll be back on Thursday with another Indie Showcase, see you then.


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