Monday, September 5, 2011

Writer and the Beast: The Blank Page

The blank page. I have always found that the blank page is demanding. It doesn't care what you as a writer puts down for words (and in the silence, the blank page sort of sneers, a contempt of pure white at the idea that you presume to use that title, a writer).

Impress me you, you hack, let's see if you can. I've stonewalled better than you. I've crippled higher IQ's, brought tears to stronger minds. Do something I haven't seen before.

There is that blank page. No matter how much you try to kill it with ink, to wipe away the contempt with your craft and cleverness, the blank page reappears. You can't kill the blank page, make it disappear because there it is in your mind as you try to plot your next scene, it dances in your dreams as characters take shape, it becomes the other side of your personality.

The challenge, the contempt, the fear, the demanding, these are writer concerns, all wrapped in the white of the uncaring blank page.

How do you confront such a beast? A writer has many ways. The more successful a writer, the better they are at facing the blank page, meeting the challenge, overcoming. The best writers make the blank page a part of themselves to the point where it is essential. It doesn't do to try to ignore all that white, it has to be like air, essential.

Confront it. Everyday. Don't set a limit of time or words, a relationship of antagonism. The blank page will grind a writer down who thinks, 'I have to get six hundred words done, two thousand, I have to meet my quota”. The blank page never gets tired or frustrated while the writer is fallible.

Just write. Everyday you have to write with the time you have and be content with the results. Less stress, the more you can write, the more you can work with the blank page instead of against it; any other way is needless struggle.

Have you faced your blank page today?  

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