Fear of the blank page.
My first blog post on my beautiful, shiny new website, and a new year to boot!
A triple whammy of blank pages. What to say? Of course, welcome! Very glad to have you here. I hope you will enjoy exploring the site, where you will find out all manner of things about my books and my screenwriting projects. If you’d like to become a member of my Book Club, there’s a box to tick. New members are entitled to a FREE SHORT STORY (sorry for shouty caps) – you can choose between Detective Gretel or The Witches of the Blue Well, both origin stories of sorts. Members will receive monthly newsletters bursting with background information about my writing and research, as well as the Good Read or Good Watch choice of the month, and news of offers, giveaways and competitions.
The blank page is something all writers must face, not only at the start of a new story, but at myriad points throughout the creative process. Writing, particularly of a novel, consists a series of beginnings, of deep breaths drawn, of focus mustered and imagination channelled. A new session at your desk? Begin again. A fresh chapter? Begin again. A second, third, fourth draft? Begin again. Each time we must summon the muse, bring our creativity to bear, and, perhaps most difficult of all, maintain the belief in our project and ourselves that will carry us through the months of work needed.
At each of those starting points we have to quell the voice of Nagging Doubt who is all too ready to question our resolve and talent. We have to push to the background all fear of failure, and we must ignore all the many distractions that clamour for our attention. I know some writers switch off their wifi to remove the temptation to check a Facebook page or glance at Twitter. Others turn off their phones. Some wear noise-cancelling headphones or play loud music. There are those who lock themselves away in bothies, hotels or retreats.
I actually find the worry that someone wouldn’t be able to contact me in a crisis more distracting than the odd purring of the phone on my desk. For me, it is better to check there is no drama or calamity than to fret about what might await me after a few hours incommunicado. I realise this betrays a certain self-importance, suggesting I think I am indispensable, and there could be truth in this, at least when it comes to my nearest and dearest. But I think it may also be a nervousness common to lots of writers because it is fed by the very imaginations that are our stock in trade. We see drama all around us. We are alert to the possibility of tragedy or catastrophe at every turn. We imagine all manner of scenarios playing out, flitting through our heads in seconds, even in the most mundane of moments. A forgotten bag in a supermarket car park must contain an explosive device. A man at a bus stop wiping a tear from his eye is not removing city grit but going through heartbreak after the loss of his childhood sweetheart. The dog trotting, collarless, along the pavement is completing his hundred mile journey to find the owners he was inadvertently separated from on a camping holiday. The red sock in the white wash at the launderette is an act of sabotage by a wronged wife. Hang on a minute, I feel a story coming on. Just nipping off to jot down a few lines… And so more new beginnings begin! Until next time, good luck to everyone with your own blank pages and fresh endeavours. x
I love the red sock in the wash mental wanderings! I also agree with the being in contact approach: worry is the last thing you want as you sit down to be creative! This made me chuckle as I juggled cooking dinner, checking that my son has done ALL of his homework and trying to ignore my dog’s pleading looks as he mentally begs me to make his food first! I’m now distracted wondering what that story would be called: ‘Red Sock Revenge’, ‘She Socked It To Him’, ‘Pink Shirt for Bill’…it really is an excellent distraction! 😉
Multitasking is a woman’s superpower!😁
Oh, the intimidation of the blank page. Everyone I know tells me that I should write. You described exactly what keeps me from doing so. I applaud your courage and your fortitude. And I am ever so glad that you have conquered the blank page so many times for us.
Love the website and the blog Paula! Well done!
I say go for it, Lorelei!❤️
Thanks, Paula. I need to stop letting that blank page push me around. LOL
This is one of my favorites ❤
I’m very interested in hearing about the dog….and all the other things. Love your blog and your website! Brava! 👏🏻 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Can’t wait to see all the new things you have in store for us!
Thanks, Larissa! I am looking forward to exploring this new way to interact with my readers.
I needed to read these words tonight. Thank you and Good Luck!
I am glad you found them helpful. I have discovered it helps to allow yourself to write badly. The pursuit of perfection can be paralysing. X
Im tickled to see all your upcoming projects! Possibly movies or tv series. I was thinking, after reading the found things series, exactly that!
Now onto the witches series.
Thank you for your books, and your blog. Both are an inspiration to those hoping to cough out a book or two! Your thought and writing process, hinted here and there were delightful.
Looking forward to reading much more!
Thank you, Lorrie! I am looking forward to sharing writerly stuff as well as book stuff.
I am so very excited for this Paula!!!
Blank pages!! Oh the possibilities!
That’s the way to think of ‘em!
Your website is beautiful!! Congrats! My new website should be done soon, too! Also, I’m happy to know that I’m not the only writer who leaves my phone next to me in case of an emergency. And you actually made it sound like looking for the drama is our way of life, instead of, that we are writers because we can’t stop the drama in our heads and need a way to release it. Haha!