What is it that makes the blank page so intimidating?

My apologies in advance but I feel I’m using today’s blog post as a sort of inner monologue, a self-help kind of post. A coping mechanism as it were. I have a number of ideas floating around on my desktop right now. I keep the ones I’m really interested in on my desktop, while the dozens of other ideas get stowed away in a folder, to be visited again possibly one day.

But as for my desktop, here’s what I have: Space Mechanic, Adam Atlas, Monster Hunter, Weird Western, w3bkill, The Shade, Desert Fox, Ikarus Code and Fire Mage.

Nine. Nine ideas. Space Mechanic needs to be reworked. I’ve recently discovered as much as I love science fiction that involves space adventure, I’m not as excited to write it. So I can rework that and I’ll probably move it over to the Folder of Lost Ideas soon. But that still leaves eight.

Eight ideas that I really want to write. But when I open the document, I freeze. How do I continue? How do I start again? Will anyone want to read this? What if people don’t like it? Is this the one that finally gets me over the finish line and lets me write full-time? Is this the one that reveals I’m a fraud of a writer and readers abandon me? Do I even have a readership? How can I get more readers? Where are the readers? Does anyone even want to read a vampire western tale, seeking revenge? Who wants to read a young adult horror story about a modern day Blood Mary serial killer hunting down high school students? Why would anyone read my take on a Zorro character? Will people believe my magic system for Fire Mage? What if it’s not good enough? What if everyone thinks it’s stupid? What if I get to the ending of this story and I don’t know how to tie it up? What if I write a horrible ending?

The questions go on and on and on.

So I stare at the blank page, unsure where to start. Sometimes debating if I should trash the idea altogether.

But then again, the blank page is a horrible boogeyman for writers. I’m reminded of the acronym for fear; False Evidence Appearing Real. Its the fear inside all of us doubting our creative efforts. The blank page stares back at us and says “you can’t.”

Three question marks printed on a typewriter

But you can.

I’ve found that writing for me begins like a faucet spouting water. The handle on the water faucet might be hard to turn, but if you keep turning you start to get some water. Not a lot at first. But you keep turning and the water starts flowing freely. Soon, you have the water pouring out.

But it all starts with those first few drops of water. Of creativity. The blank page doesn’t have to be a scary place. You just have to figure out how to write those words onto that blank page. Jot down some notes of where you left off. That’s what I do.

When I end my writing session, I always leave a note at the end of where I’m going next. Whether it’s the end of a chapter or the middle of one. If I have a character climb a tree and suddenly have to stop writing, I write my next ideas down so I know where I’m going. Either they’re gonna fall out of the tree, or they’re going to climb down, or an alien spaceship is going to appear and they are going to get beamed up. Something. Otherwise, I’ll come back to the page and think, “now what the hell was I going to do with this character in the tree?”

Control the blank page, don’t let the blank page control you.

See you tomorrow.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *