Blank Pages

Blank pages are a bitch. There are no constraints. Anything can be scribbled on them. Without well formed ideas, they might just stay blank.

Every writer, from rookie to the crusty seasoned vet has to deal with a blank page. The playing field is level for all.

The blank page inflicts the same fear, doubt, and panic in the mind of every writer.

Questions loom, “What if it doesn’t come? What if whatever I once had, has left me?”

Fear not writer, once you’ve established that you can write, you can write. You own that skill.

Writing is not a conscious process it’s something that dwells deep within us. It’s simply a process to access the unconscious.

The subconscious is still fallible, but it still should not be questioned during drafting.

To stifle and force is where the writer gets tripped up. It’s better to let the process flow. Let words stain the sanctity of the blank paper with the irreverence of imperfect thoughts.

Many writers call their first draft a “vomit draft”.

And that’s how it should be viewed. It’s a non-precious collection of your thoughts.

Vomit all you want. Mark up and ink up that paper, that’s what it’s there for.

We are not fine artist, us writers.

Conscious thoughts can be used to tweak reorganize and edit our work. But, there is no work without the defiling of the blank page.

It is almost by some miracle that anything ever gets written. When you sit down we are merely greeted by a blank page and our thoughts. After some measure these ideas are plucked out into a form that fits crudely on a piece of paper.

We must block out the internal critic. It’s painful to fight that critic daily, but it is crucial. Once we beat him, it’s easier to go into the battle with the confidence that you’ve beat a worthy opponent.

But this worthy opponent is unflinching. He shows up everyday whether you do or not. He’s ever present. He screams and taunts and yells. “You can’t do this! You’re not worthy! Who do you think you are scrawling and striving to write? You’re unqualified!”

Sometime he speaks in subtler tones, “That last work, that was just luck. You’ll never produce work like that again.”

He’s a bully, he wants to hold you back from your best work. He’s the mirror shining back on the other side of the blank page.

His presence is reassuring though. His resistance signals to you that you are on the right course. He can be outflanked, he can be defeated, but he’s ever present. It’s your job to stand up and slay him every day.

There is much fear when first putting any mark on the paper. “What should I write? What if it’s not good?” There’s aren’t questions we should ponder. In the end it doesn’t matter. What really matters is that we sit down and we do the work.

Author: Jeff

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