Get your Weekly Fantasy Fix!

Beating that Scary Blank Page–A Writer’s Nightmare

If you’re a writer, at some point you’ve probably encountered it. The scary blank page. What makes it scary is that you have absolutely no idea how to fill it…and all the other blank pages that come after. Bits and pieces of ideas are swirling around in your head, and you’ve got disjointed notes scattered across different files on your computer. Your desk is full of barely legible scraps of paper you scribbled on in haste (gotta get that flash of an idea on paper before it dissipates), and notebooks you dragged with you on trips, or maybe to the park. Somehow it all has to come together into a cohesive story. But where to begin?

I’ve been staring at that blank page for a few months now. Mostly because my overly-busy life hasn’t afforded me the time to center myself and organize my thoughts. I thought maybe if I just tried not to stress out about it, the ideas would start coming together on their own. You know, like when you forget someone’s name and the only way to remember it is to think of something else for a while?

But you probably don’t have to be a writer to realize that plan was destined to fail. After all, I’m not trying to remember something forgotten, I’m trying to create something totally new. Its threads must tie neatly into everything that came before, as well as everything that is yet to come after. The further I get into my series, the more complex that job becomes. Sometimes it gets pretty intimidating and I wonder if I’m up to the challenge I’ve set before myself.

So the blank page continues to stare at me, and the longer it looms, the scarier it seems. And that has been bothering me. A lot! So now I’m pushing myself to get past the anxiety and really focus on the task at hand. I’ve done it before, and I know I can do it again. But first I must stop thinking like a writer, and get into the minds of my readers. What are they expecting to happen next? Which of those expectations must be fulfilled, and which do I hold back until further on in the series? What surprising twists and turns will make the story fresh and exciting, rather than predictable? What will move and intrigue my readers to keep coming back for the next book, and the next after that?

It is in answering those questions that I can more easily get back to the job of being a writer; balancing expectation with inspiration, and weaving together what seems to be nothing but a random tangle of loose threads into a vibrant, tightly woven fabric. I’m already starting to see the patterns and colors as they come together in the back of my mind. Scenes are taking shape, characters are whispering their thoughts to me as I sleep, and the mood of the book is building in my chest.

That blank page doesn’t have any words on it yet, but all the signs are telling me the time is just about right to begin. Once again, I’ll do my best to fill it, and hundreds more, with words that will take my readers on new adventures, full of heart, wonder, and suspense. In the end, if I do my job well, my readers will inspire me to face another new set of blank pages. But that’s for another year—one challenge at a time.

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6 thoughts on “Get your Weekly Fantasy Fix!

  1. Adam says:

    A familiar struggle for anyone who’s tried to craft a story. Sometimes I feel like we create our own barriers with our anxiety and our self-imposed high expectations.
    When in doubt I like to, as you say, step back and consider myself a reader. What would I as a reader want to see happen next? What would be a satisfying next step in this story? Of course sometimes what I come up with doesn’t fit the story I’ve written, but once you’ve got something it’s a lot easier to tweak it, change it, or try something else, and it gets you past that troublesome blank page.

    Liked by 1 person

    • weavingword says:

      You know the funny thing? Once I wrote that article the anxiety went away and I started to really get down to work. Ideas are flowing again, and I even started my book outline. It’s like I had to admit, and own, my fear of the blank page before I could get past it. We writers are our own brand of crazy, aren’t we?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Adam says:

        Well I think it takes a certain type of madness. I mean think about it, we’re actively trying to separate ourselves into distinct individuals with conflicting personalities and goals.

        Liked by 1 person

      • weavingword says:

        When you put it like that, it’s a wonder we’re not all in therapy. 🙂 The process can get pretty intense and emotional. If I can’t “feel” a scene like it’s happening for real, I know the writing isn’t good enough yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Adam says:

        I think writing can be its own form of therapy. We create characters who in some way represent a part of us. They act out a narrative that represents a question or issue that is important to us. In many ways stories are a lot like dreams, a series of memories that were never real, but through them we’re able to work things out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • weavingword says:

        Oh, definitely! Sometimes our characters are a reflection of ourselves, both good and bad. And sometimes they reflect the person we wish we could be. Since I am writing faith-based fiction, I am often working out tough spiritual questions along with my characters. Through their different circumstances I can get a unique perspective that sometimes brings unexpected clarity.

        Liked by 1 person

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