Friday, May 15, 2009

On Writing: The Blank Page

You know the one.

When you pick up your pen to write in your notebook. Or open a new Microsoft Word document and you are faced with a white, blank sheet of paper.

Some days when I pick up my pen to write, the words come tumbling out, the ideas keep flowing, I'm on a roll and my arm aches to catch up with the speed at which my brain is churning out words. But that's actually the exception. Most other days, I spend ages staring at the blank sheet of paper, willing something to happen. Sometimes I manage to scrape a few sentences together, but sometimes I give up after a few torturous hours.

Someone asked me recently, "do you schedule some time to write each day, or do you wait for the inspiration to come and then write when you feel like it?"

Good question. If I had to wait for inspiration all the time, then I would hardly ever get anything done. So most times I have to grit my teeth and force myself to write something, anything.

Or to put it another way, as I read in the "Writing a Novel and Getting Published for Dummies" book (paraphrased):

As a writer, you must realise that the blank page is not your friend. The blank page is scary, and it is your enemy. Cover your pages with words. If you force yourself to write 1000 words everyday, in a month you would have written 30,000 words. Words which you can edit and correct later. Remember, you cannot edit a blank page.

That's a lesson for Favoured Girl.

Have a great weekend all!