Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good. William Faulkner
While I was searching for a blog idea for this week’s post, I came across this blog that I first posted in March of 2018. It struck me that this was a time to revisit it.
How many of us hesitate to start writing? Even authors who have been at it for a while have this hesitation.
Some people call this writer’s block. Which I think is a falsehood.
Sometimes, writer’s block comes because we have no idea what to write next.
Sometimes, it comes out of fear. Like the fear we can’t write, that we’re only deluding ourselves if we think we have talent. Or the fear our story is junk that no one will ever want to read.
It’s the fear of failure.
I think Faulkner gives wise advice in the quote above.
There are times that blank page stares back, accusing and ridiculing. Our fingers freeze. This has happened to me over and over. When it does, I turn away and do something else. And when I come back, the page is still empty.
That’s what happened in March of 2018. I was revising my work in progress. When I looked at my notes of what needed fixing, the page lay there, daring me to come up with something.
I skimmed my folder of ideas for blogs, rejecting one after the other until I found this quote from Faulkner. The simple truth of it smacked me upside my head.
A blank page is a dark hole. A page with words on it is something I can work with. It may stink, but I can see it and tweak and rewrite until it’s something worthwhile.
So the key is to write. Something. Anything. One sentence may trigger a whole chapter that will take our story in a new and better direction. Write a character’s history. It may reveal a new aspect to explore and develop. It may show the story world in an entirely new light, one that peels back layers to show deeper insights into our story.
To bring this even more up-to-date, for several months now, I’ve been in an arid period of writing — Sahara Desert dry. Then I stumbled upon a flash fiction piece I wrote a few years ago about Michael Archer, the main character in my Riverbend series. The short story teased me: what happens next? I’ve started adding to the story to discovering more of Michael’s story before the events in Journey to Riverbend. The words are flowing again. Not very fast, but stuff is happening.
I’m no longer looking at a blank screen.
As Nora Lofts says, “I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank page.”
What are some of the things you do to overcome a blank page?