A deep, if shaky, breath. You close and open them again. Still nothing.
You really squeeze them shut this time, knowing that you should at least see a few brightly colored floating orbs of light. Suddenly those floaters are no longer a physiological nuisance. They're an essential connection between your physical and mental self. If you can see, they'll be there. If you're alive, they'll be there...
Sometimes searching for the right word or phrase is like that for me. Probably why I write so slowly. If I don't see (on the page) exactly what I'm looking for, I risk losing my place in life (the story).What is normally an automatic, subconscious thing (putting a word into a sentence) becomes so much more important.
Contrary to common conjecture, writers aren't JUST fanciful dreamers who record their stream of consciousness and hope to coral it into a cohesive story. Unlike conversations with friends, writing requires perfect articulation. In the end, there's very little room for idle chat and boundless meandering.
Effective storytelling is more akin to playing in a sandbox than on an endless beach. You begin with the understanding that you only have so much room to spread out and build. If your sand castle (story) is too expansive there'll be nothing to focus on. Doing too much runs the risk of creating something that isn't recognizable as a castle at all.
Effective writers are word surgeons, extracting the unnecessary and repairing the vital. In that way a perfect balance must be formed. A writer understands that the presence of one word in a story carries no more weight than the absence of the next. In story economy, the said and unsaid are of equal value.
I suppose that's why word searching can be so excruciating. While I'm not certain any story has ever entirely failed or succeeded on only one word, I do believe--like a misplaced stone in a wall--an ineffectual thought can severely harm the overall structure and integrity of a story.
Do you feel any word-search pressure when you write? Has it ever gotten in the way of you finishing a story? At what point do you resolve to move on?
Also, BIG props to all you NaNoWriMo folks out there! I think you can read this post and understand why I might not be cut out to write 40K+ in a month. :) Best of luck to you all. I hope you surpass your goals!