The blank page.
“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
I’ll admit, I had been staring at this screen for a while, which is annoyingly ironic.
Sometimes you can sit down and instantly your story will come out, spilling forth faster than you can put the words down. Other times, no matter how hard you squint at the page, nothing drips out. Unfortunately that is just the way it works sometimes.
You may have everything planned out, you know your characters, you know you setting, theme and central story line, but when you go to start it…nothing. That’s the thing, the start. You may know everything except how to start. When you think about it the start, that first sentence, is pretty pivotal to any work. It’s what will either hook your audience in or leave them thinking about that other book they were considering reading.
Starting a new work can be a daunting task and I think that is why some people encounter the blank page problem. If you’re one to second guess yourself it can be even more of a challenge.
“What is it about the blank page that makes me want to hurl myself into a game of solitaire? I ask myself these kinds of questions while I’m playing solitaire.”
Things to try:
- Take a break
Take a step back. Take a break. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to start that very second and collect your thoughts. Allow the words to flow naturally. Forcing them out will only make them more stubborn and create bad writing that you will regret later.
- Play around, you can always hit the delete key
Nothing you write is set in stone. ‘Delete’ will always be there if you need it. It’s okay to hit that button; no one will scold you for starting over. In fact in the long run getting rid of something you feel isn’t good enough could have a better pay off for you in the end.
- Just do it
Sit down and write. Just do it. Don’t let the blank page stun you. If you don’t start you might never start and that is certainly a scary thought. Remember that anything you write is merely a first draft, you’ll go back and edit over everything. You may decide that the beginning isn’t working so you tweak it, but at least it’s there for you to tweak.