The Fear of The Blank Page
Constantly I hear this complaint from fellow writers about how what scares them the most in writing is a blank page. It’s something that every writer sees at least once. There are numerous poems and articles about the potential of a blank page, or the fear one gets from seeing one; quivering hands, hallucinations and such.
This was also my fear in highschool and some of college, but honestly I don’t feel that fear anymore. I know about the potential and such, about how a blank page could become a classic and earn you much esteem, or it could be absolute drivel. However, I’ve forced myself to embrace the fact that I am no Langston Hughes or Mark Twain. It would be foolish of me to think that so early on that I could write so well. And now that I think about it, it’s a little narcissistic.
We all possess the potential to become our own greats. That’s what keeps me writing, the feeling of growth and the knowledge that if I keep perservering I won’t have to worry about that empty page because of the skill I’ve garnered through experience.
But then, theres is the threat of not knowing what the hell to write about when your contract demands 1500 words and you dont know shit about anything. I fear that. But, I have not encountered any really long contracts yet, so that may be a fear in the future. Everything is really flexible at this beginner level.
This follows into my second point. Read other blogs, but try not to compare yourself to them too much.
No lie, I look at other blogs and think “wow could I ever write so smooth, and would I ever get twelve million views on my measly “blog?”” The answer obviously is YES… with time and perserverance just like any other skill. Or maybe I already write well and I just need to accrue a following.
I like to look at how other blogs go about blogging, how they title their blogs. Do they capitilize every word? Do they only capitalize words with three or more letters or do they also cap the two letter words? How long are their paragraphs and/or sections and do they play around with fonts? What times do they post and how often?
All very statistical things, I try not to look too deeply into their prose. I also have this strange superstitution that I’m losing my own voice as a writer by looking at other blogs and trying to mimick them. Maybe it’s not a superstition I dunno.
Forget most of what you knew.
I wouldn’t say High School English class was an absolute waste of time, but I could have gone without the majority of it. In article writing, in blog writing, in copywriting, writing becomes more of an art than a structered essay. What High School supplied me with was free books to improve my prose, otherwise I really did not need to know that a paragraph is seven sentences long. Real writing is mercurial.
A paragraph can be just a sentance.
This is the artistic element. Choosing where your words appear on the page is like being a choreographer or a movie director. I want the audience to see my words here. I want this sentance to pop and then have them run through a forest of words again. I learned that from the books I read.
The MLA stuff I learned in college was more useful though…so remember that and also how to write well.