The blank page is your friend

October 14, 2013

There is a lot of advice for writers, and while some of it varies in approach there are also some ideas which seem to be universally accepted. One of these ideas is the fear of the blank page; of that empty white space staring accusingly at you and demanding to know why you haven't written anything.Many will argue that you should still get words down quickly without thinking too much as a way of overcoming the fear. This might be a useful tactic in some circumstances, but to me it seems like a way of avoiding the issue.Personally, I don’t find a blank page particularly frightening. Sometimes I might find it difficult to get started, but the blank page isn’t the problem. The problem is finding a starting point by deciding what to say first. If you solve that, the blank page problem disappears.That doesn’t mean it’s easy — it takes a lot of patience and persistence — but by focusing on the more fundamental problem, your attention is directed towards creating something of value, rather than avoiding some abstract, poorly defined fear.As a writer, you will face blank pages every day. So you can either build your writing strategy around an irrational fear of an essential medium for your work, or you can try to get comfortable with it. The latter, surely, is a more confident approach.It’s time we writers got over this collective fear. The blank page is your friend. The blank page will hold your words for you when they are ready. It will be forever patient, and when one is full another will be waiting to serve you.

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