Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Blank Page

For all of you viewing this post in its published state, which is all of you (minus my boyfriend, who is sitting next to me as I write), you cannot see what I see now. It is the writer's personal canvas, the window into another world, and often the picnic area for muses, characters, and plots to come together. It can also be a writer's worst nemesis.

The blank page.

All that empty space. Horrible, isn't it? I'm sure you've had this feeling: it's the day of the test you didn't study for, and you're faced with that dreadful essay question, the one where you have no thesis, no evidence, and no hope. Only for a writer, it's even worse - you aren't even given the essay question. You just put down what's in your heart and mind, and hope that it works.

For me, the writing process has always been a struggle. I'm great at ideas. So great, in fact, that they don't stop coming. I'm constantly being bombarded by inspirations from all around me, on TV or the radio, in books and articles I read, or even in everyday situations. Where do I get my ideas? Where don't I?

But when an idea arrives, and I scribble it down on a notepad or some form of paper (which I'm never without), often it remains as notes. When I was younger, I took less notes, had less direction in my stories, and far less technique. But I had stories. Over time, I've been taught to be careful with my words, and with that care came a wariness that has shadowed the last six years of my life.

In college, I studied poetry for the first time. I learned to write in a new form, and it changed the way I thought about writing. Using a shorter form forced me to be more creative with words, and less so with character and idea. I learned to take an archetype and dig deeper into the generic. I still had story ideas, but in seeing the beauty my classmates brought to the written word, I was convinced that nothing I wrote could ever measure up.

Six years later, I've managed to put together two half-finished novels, two partway begun pieces of fan-fiction (fiction based in another creator's world), and notes for a brilliant medieval-style world that absolutely sings with color and detail. I got out of college, went into grad school, and stagnated.

As I've said previously, it's not that I haven't had anything to say all year, but that I haven't had the courage to put forth the words. These stumble, they're verbose but not encompassing, and as usual, the post has gotten too long already. But they're a start. The page isn't blank anymore. Maybe tomorrow there will be another news article, and I'll be more in my element, with my typical self-assigned essay question: what is your opinion?

But until then, you lucky few readers can have a look into the head of a budding writer. And then, presumably, be grateful not to be one.

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