Musings

The Great White Page

We all face it. The looming terror of the Great White Page. Pulling up a brand new work can be a daunting task. From all the way back to the first clean piece of paper spooled into a typewriter to a new document opened in Word with the little cursor blinking at us, all of us writers have faced that terror of blank pages and blank thoughts.

How do we start a new piece? What do we do to conquer that sudden paralysis when faced endless white nothingness?

I have faced that Great White Page often when constructing these posts. Let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy. One of the little tricks I have adopted to try and reduce the paralyzing effect is to set specific boundaries on what I want to write. Take these posts. I try to restrict to topics related to writing or find a way to relate what I have written to writing in a feasible way. That helps narrows the topics I can write about, so it helps focus my wild, unrestrained thoughts.

Another trick is just to start writing something. I know…I know…If the words flowed without any issues, there wouldn’t be so much fear about the Great White Page. But by starting to jot down notes, sketches of ideas, or a sentence or two, the white expanse will vanish. You will have kickstarted your thoughts, revving up the machinery of your brain. It’s like stretching before a big workout; You are warming up those writing muscles for a new project. And the sight of more and more text will encourage you to keep going. You can always edit later.

If you’re writing a longer piece, say a novel or a novella, there can be a slight fear of the blank page when it comes to a chapter break. One great tip I learned was to never stop your writing for the day on the end of a chapter. That equals the end of your thoughts and having to start cold the next day. Always try to start writing even just a little into the next chapter, section, etc. to keep your brain engaged on the next part of your story. That way, when you return after a good night’s rest, your brain is ready to tackle the next phase of your writing. No blank page paralysis for you.

As writers, we will continually have to face that Great White Page and the strange blankness that settles over our heads before we tell our next tales. But with a few tricks and perseverence, we can turn the Great White Page into the Great Filled Pages.

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