I’ve been doing some type of writing for years. Blogging has been the most consistent though. Despite this being so, the sort of writing I like the best is the kind when I’m penning a story. (The other forms of writing? Well, there’s journalism, letters, and the never-ending lists — and, indeed, fictional stories. I’m sure some would say there’s more, but I think most forms of writing can fall into these categories.) Whatever type of writing is being done, there’s the perpetual blank page to deal with at the start.
Going by what I’ve read and heard, most of us, as writers, dread this page, whether it be on a computer, word processor, typewriter, or the piece of paper. Somehow it terrifies us. Nothing is there for the writer to use as a launching point, which brings up images of disaster.
Super Short Story
When I was a kid, my parents insisted that I learn how to swim. I loved swimming from the first class and tried to master the different strokes. But there was that day when the teacher wanted me to dive off the low diving board. All of a sudden that water looked menacing. She wants me to jump head first from here? I’ll drowned! Of course, I didn’t even come close to drowning. According to the teacher, my launch was almost perfect.
Does that blank page feel like you’re looking at that treacherous water from the diving board?
Some writers will still have that sensational idea stirring in their heads. Yet, once sitting before that blank page, the words have escaped and no matter what is put on that page, it isn’t right, at least not right enough for the writer.
Other writers aren’t so fortunate and find the superb idea has vanished or it suddenly sounds ludicrous. The person often ends up staring at all that whiteness before him/her, hoping and praying the idea will reappear somehow or a better idea will pop into his/her mind.
I’ve had these times myself, although not often. In fact, the times of this horror are rare. For unexplainable reasons, the blank page for me usually means a fresh start. Any mistakes from prior works are erased. My inspiration is renewed. My motivation is energized. I might not even have any ideas to start writing with, yet still feel the empowerment of having a new beginning laying before me.
In this era of technology, I have the luxury of getting online to find my writing ideas. They’re all over the place out here in cyber space. If you’re having difficulty finding a worthy idea, try a search. One of my favorite sites for writing ideas is Creative Writing Prompts that’s part of The Writer’s Digest.
The right words have always been a huge problem for me. It scarcely has stopped me from writing though. Long ago I always had the Thesaurus book sitting with me while I wrote. But then I found Thesaurus.Com. I could start with the most simplest of words and find so many other words that better described what I wanted to convey in my writing piece. The lack of my vocabulary skills was resolved.
This doesn’t mean I don’t agonize during my hours of writing. My trouble appears farther down the page after I’ve writing a couple or a few paragraphs. It’s at this point when doubt sets in and I’m reluctant to go any farther. Do I know what I’m doing here? Should I rework that second paragraph? Maybe I should just toss that paragraph. Is any of this making sense? Yes, misgivings about the entire project come flooding into my mind.
I have found something that works to alleviate this rush of dark apprehension. It doesn’t work every time, but often enough to spur me to try it. I put that page half done to the side and start where I left off on a clean blank page. I can normally continue the story I’m writing.
Have you found some strategies that get you past your writing difficulties? Could you share them?
The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. ~Vladimir Nabakov