Who’s afraid of a Big Blank Page?

pen with hand. color from tungsten lamp

 

Somewhere in my history, an English teacher once said something like “Get it down on paper, it’s not a story while it’s in your head.”

Yes this was the days before laptops at schools, back when we used pens and paper (but after the time of chalk and slate – I’m not quite that old!).

These days I’ve paraphrased her words into something which motivates me.

 

“There’s nothing wrong with a blank page. You just can’t edit it.”

 

If you haven’t figured it out yet…I’m telling you to start writing.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to have the pitter-patter cadence of Ernest Hemingway or Aaron Sorkin, it doesn’t have to be more than a string of words following each other on a page.

It just has to be on the page.

Perhaps your writings look more like the throwing together of rhyming words which could twist a tongue into permanent damage (Thank you Dr Seuss)

Or

Perhaps your writings look more like the lunatic musings of someone who should volunteer for the asylum (Tip your hat to Mr Shaun Allan)

Or

Perhaps your writings look like a single solitary line on a page.

That’s okay too.

Because fairly soon, it will be followed by another and another and another.

Lines become paragraphs.
Paragraphs become pages.
Pages become chapters.
Chapters become stories.

The story is then ready for copious edits on its way to becoming a book – but that’s for another time.

Back to the blank page. Oh, that’s right – it’s not so blank any more.

So don’t sit, staring, petrified by empty lines or a little flashing pesk on the wide expanse of a screen. Start writing.

Let me give you some advice. You don’t have to take it, but I’m giving to you anyway. Don’t waste time and effort polishing and polishing that first line, the order of words, grammar or even spelling. Just write. This will become a first draft and first drafts are supposed to be crappy.

Get it down now, edit later. I didn’t mention ‘copious edits’ before, just for fun. You’re going to be editing a few times (is that the 18th edit I’m up to, or the 19th?), so don’t worry about the sparkles at the moment.

  1. Bum in chair.
  2. Fingers on chosen writing implement.
  3. Start.

 

The scariest moment is always just before you start ~ Stephen King


 

So Writers… What “blank page heebie-jeebies” have stopped you from starting to write?

 

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