Thoughts on a blank page

 

The first, new, blank page.

Blank from the French blanc

Meaning white. Also blench/

Blanche meaning to lose

Colour or to grow pale.

But no longer whitely paling

No longer a threatening void

Or waiting gap, a vacuum,

Gulping me down.

Unfillable space.

Look! I’ve written on it.

 

The ‘fear’ of the blank page is a common problem for writers. I guess perhaps less so now we can fill our screens with formatting and editing marks. But still, for some it’s an excruciating obstacle, for others a brief gulp and pause before pushing onward. It’s useful to have a coping mechanism if this is something you can relate to. I write my first draft longhand, and that’s where the blank page seems to become an in surmountable fence between me and my creativity. So I always write my ongoing word count in the margin at the top and bottom of each page, and I write dates, titles, or chapter headings as required at the top of each new page. These small scrawlings help to break up the expanse of white paper and make the page seem already ‘inhabited’, thereby solving my problem. If I’m going through a dry patch, having trouble getting down to writing, I might even make notes in pencil on the ext page for the following days work. So if you sometimes struggle, maybe give these a try and see if they work for you too. Drop me a line if they do!

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