What A Blank Page Says To A Writer

Blank pages. You know what they look like, right? Empty, white space?

Wrong.

A blank page can be full of things. Daft people – optimists and the like – might say they are full of possibility. But a blank page can be chock-full of insults, jibes, and taunts too.

Just look at what a blank page says to a writer.

One blank page said all this to me only yesterday

My blank page said all this to me only yesterday

You can tell it’s been one of those weeks already. I hope your blank pages are treating you better.

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  35 comments for “What A Blank Page Says To A Writer

  1. Sally
    October 21, 2014 at 10:08 am

    What you need is a different blank page. Go fetch one now – one that will be nice to you. One that will tell you to have a coffee and a bar of chocolate, and that it’s a temporary blip and the words will flow with your normal wit and charm (one of those blank pages you use for your blog posts will do). NO blank page has the right to tell you you are stupid – stupid blank page for doing that. Send it on its way and start with a lovely fresh one. Breathe coffee, relax and you and your blank sheet will be friends.

    It is only temporary you know. WE all know you can do it. Fill the page with rubbish if you need to. Then in a couple of days, enjoy the editing. It will be such fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 21, 2014 at 10:17 am

      Oh dear, Sally… I think the floodgates are opening… if you’re giving me licence to fill a page with rubbish, there isn’t a county council on the continent who could deal with the waste contract…

      But you’re right. About the chocolate. And the coffee. I just have to faff around with 65,403 spreadsheets first, and then I’m ALL OVER IT. 😀

      Like

  2. October 21, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I have a few blank pages too. Why don’t we swap? You can work on mine, hone them, improve them, tweak the rough bits and I can do the same for yours. no one will know know.

    Liked by 2 people

    • October 21, 2014 at 10:54 am

      Sounds like a great idea, Bill, but I have one proviso. Why don’t you tweet a photo of your blank pages, and if I like the colour of their heckling, I’ll do the swap, and throw in a picture of a large dog wearing glasses.

      Liked by 2 people

      • October 21, 2014 at 5:56 pm

        I’ve got a picture of my dog wearing glasses. Very cute. Won’t take me a minute to upload. Anyone? No? …I suppose I’ll have to go and get on with my work then. Sigh.

        Like

        • October 21, 2014 at 6:25 pm

          I’ll take it, Elaine! But only if it comes with a 1,000 word essay entitled “Why Dogs In Glasses Are Totes LOLs, smiley face”

          Like

          • October 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm

            There you go. I defy you to find something cuter (and since it’s a fellow blogger’s request, you can now legitimately spend time on something other than writing). Don’t say I’m not good to you ! : http://elainecanham.wordpress.com/2014/04/

            Like

            • October 21, 2014 at 9:51 pm

              He is the absolute doggies’, Elaine. And oddly enough, the expression on his face makes me feel guilty and inspired, all at the same time.

              Like

              • October 21, 2014 at 10:24 pm

                He’s called Alice, Tara! She’s a sort of canine teddy bear. Unlike her devil dog mother. Go on, don’t let that inspiration go…get thee to that book, girl.

                Like

                • October 21, 2014 at 10:39 pm

                  As someone who only ever grew up in a house with she-dogs I have no idea why I walked into that old trope. Tell Alice I’m sorry, and I do hope I haven’t added to her mommy issues.

                  Liked by 1 person

  3. October 21, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I always make sure to have coloured paper so, at least, I’m starting with a lovely pastel green or shimmering gold! It helps a lot.

    Like

    • October 21, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Perhaps that’s where I’ve been going wrong. Someone did tell me before that Lidl toilet roll was unlikely to produce work of staggering literary genius.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. October 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I read my first draft of part of book 2 last night. Let it all spill onto the page in July, 20,000 words, and haven’t looked at it since. Have to admit I thought it was rubbish initially but was relieved it was there even if it was kinda verbal diarrhoea.
    I’m struggling a bit with blogging at the mo but am putting that down to tiredness. Ironically, now that I have 4 blog posts to write for clients today, I suddenly have lots of enthusiasm for working on that rubbish draft and shaping it into something that will be so so wonderful!
    I can vouch for the tea and chocolate – and so can the size of my waist!

    Like

    • October 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      You’ve cracked it, Lorna! Thank you so much – from me, and everyone reading this post! The secret to writing is to have something else you don’t want to do MORE!

      I will have to make sure my bathroom is permanently filthy in order to get any writing done in the future. Either that, or I’ll just think about those calculations for my actual work which actually pays me my actual salary…

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 21, 2014 at 2:05 pm

        It particularly works well if the other work has a tight deadline!

        Liked by 1 person

        • October 21, 2014 at 5:54 pm

          I do this too. I have three things permanently on the go, that I don’t want to do, and I go round in a sort of circle of displacement. Works a treat until I look at my WP reader and get lost in that.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. October 21, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    For me, I suffer from the empty menu first. Then I cook something inspiring. The I get the blank page. It’s not fair.

    Like

    • October 21, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      That is absolutely not fair. Although I have to say I would be considerably more alarmed if you suffered from empty blank, cooked a menu page and then got some inspiration. That would be very Kafka. Or something.

      Like

      • October 21, 2014 at 11:47 pm

        Tara, I have a raft of stuff cooked and photographed. I look at the pics and scratch my baldy head. I need inspiration.

        Like

        • October 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm

          Ah yes. The dreaded angle. There are days when I’d be hard pushed to find an angle in a corner. Those are the days when I hit the bottle blogs. Thank God yours mentions wine quite frequently.

          Like

          • October 22, 2014 at 12:04 am

            Not recommended. But, that’s only because you’d sue me if you fell down the stairs. I need to lie down now.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. October 22, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Blank page syndrome I suffer from it regularly – always on the look out for a lead – the doggie piece just done it for me!!!!

    Like

    • October 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Leads can come from the strangest places, can’t they? Tell us, will you be publishing your dog-lit?

      Like

      • October 22, 2014 at 5:07 pm

        Hi Tara,
        Is that like in Chap-Book, Chic-Lit or the operations of the pooper scooper? I suppose I could always start with, from the time he was a pup I tried to get him to use a blank page – being a dog he ate a foolscap copy ok a small exaggeration, but food for thought no less?

        Like

        • October 22, 2014 at 6:24 pm

          What he ate only counts if it was your homework. In the context of this exercise, therefore, I think he could get you out of the whole thing 😀

          Like

          • October 22, 2014 at 7:45 pm

            I brought this to his attention, it drew a round of apaws so let this be the end, unless that is there is a best seller in it!!

            Liked by 1 person

  7. October 23, 2014 at 11:39 am

    My sympathy. I had to do an exercise on a course yesterday, involving writing for five minutes about a mugshot in a newspaper, to bring a character to life. I have had more writing experience than all but a couple in the group and boy did that blank sheet mock me.

    Like

    • October 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      I have to say that those exercises always flummox me. It’s horrible to have to sit down and write what you’re told to write, in a creative sense. I always feel like I’m back in school. The fact that I do it at work all day never occurs to me!

      Like

  8. October 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    For the moment my blank pages are remaining blank – too many other things are interfering with writing thoughts, elbowing them out the way. Even having a short story published in a literary magazine hasn’t worked magic. I just need to go with it, for soon I’ll be driven back to typing writing words, rather than email or report words, on an electronic page.

    Like

    • October 23, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      I’m with you… I’m never sure if forcing it works. But big congrats on your short story – those are laurels to rest on indeed!

      Like

  9. October 23, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Blank page and empty pot. Damn!

    Like

    • October 23, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      Dammit! How’s this for inspiration. Picture your least favourite politician, and think of what you would NEVER cook for them…?

      Like

  10. October 24, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Your blank page is so mean! You’re not any of those things x

    Like

    • October 24, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      It is mean, isn’t it?? I did threaten it, though. I said if it wasn’t nicer, I would cover it with extremely complicated numbers. That shut it up rightly, let me tell you. (And thanks. You are categorically un-mean 😉 )

      Like

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