Drabble 90 – Sciaphobia

Sciaphobia

I’ve stared at this open blog post for a while and I’m coming up with nothing.

Writing advice is tricky. Don’t use adverbs. Sometimes use adverbs. Always outline. Write by the seat of your pants. Write when the inspiration strikes. Write every single day, a thousand words, or you’ll never make it as a writer.

I’ve been struggling with that last one for a while, making myself miserable because some days, after writing all day for work and cleaning my house and making dinner, the thought of writing gives me a headache. I felt guilty last week for skipping a drabble because I was at a concert. Should I have been writing from my phone? Should I have chosen not to go because writing is important?

Life is just as important to my writing process as actually doing the writing. I take writing very seriously–it’s my job and I want to expand my paid work to include fiction. I’ve polished another story for submission this year. I’m editing a poem. I’m writing two novels. Just…maybe not every day, because I also need to do things that aren’t work or I’ll run screaming into the woods and never return.

Breaks are important. A night off from writing is not a black mark signifying your failure. (Probably–to be fair, I’m not professionally published and maybe every editor who has ever rejected my work is lurking outside my house, taking note of when I skip a night to justify the rejection). Despite the lingering guilt I feel about skipping a week, those experiences I had were as important to writing as actually putting the words on paper or screen. Provided, of course, that I actually do put words on screen.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

SCIAPHOBIA

(n.) Greek scia for “shadows” + phobia suffix for “fear of”

Fear of shadows.

“A phobia is irrational,” she says. “This isn’t irrational, therefore it’s not a phobia.”

“They’re shadows. They can’t do anything to you other than follow you around.”

“And that’s not enough?” She taps a command into her computer and the lights flicker on, brighter than before.

“Come on. They can’t hurt you.”

“Can’t hurt you,” she replies, shaking a bit of shadow from one ankle. It drops to the floor, flattening and stretching itself, leech-like, until it reaches the pool of darkness and is absorbed.

“Oh.”

“Yeah, oh.” She straps a flashlight to her wrist. “Come on. Let’s go.”

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