The Empty Page

The empty page scares me. Not as much as the possibility of being buried alive or the idea of Trump as President, but from a creative standpoint, the empty page defies explanation.

You've probably heard Hemingway's solution. He said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." It's a messy, albeit effective, solution.

In the absence of an open wound, the empty page stares back at you and says all kinds of terrible things about you, your talent (or lack thereof), and whether or not you'll ever come up with anything worth typing. 

Sally Hogshead called it The Throne of Agony, calling it a necessary part of the creative process. That's an appropriate description.

Even outright rejection pales in comparison; in that case you've already written something. It might have sucked, but you wrote it. In the case of the empty page, you're not sure you'll ever write anything ever again.

You suffer. You doubt. You think you're the only one who's ever felt that way. And even when you read every other author you've ever admired talk about the same issue, you still think your empty page is emptier.

I even went so far as to create a blank "working title" document with all the headers and fonts set up and in place, thinking that would at least put something on the page. Actually, it's a nice start; it gives the empty page a little window dressing.

But after all that, you've got to write something. Today, it took me an hour and a half to write a paragraph. And as slow as that is, at least tomorrow I won't be starting from an empty page.

Also, this blog is no longer empty. Win.