We’ve all stared down the blank page, fighting an inner turmoil, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, a disquieted soul that rumbles at the expanse of white. I’ve often wondered if I suffer more than any other as, of course, is a common egomaniac response to phobic anxieties. Because, by it’s very essense, these fears are irrational and larger than life, which means no one could possibly have lived through such an experience and written to tell the tale.
The truth is, fear of the blank page is common. I suffer it every day to varied extent and fellow writers have suffered it since the dawn of the written word. Perhaps that dawn was delayed by the fear too!
How do YOU conquer your fear of the blank page?
Just Do It!
In the end, one tried and true method seems to be the only one that works every single time, “Just Do It!” Unfortunately, the theory is as usual, easier than the practice. It is one thing to say, “Just start writing…” and another to quell the beast within long enough to put a word on the page, any word at all. What’s worse is that each word feels tortured, ripped from the gut and splattered in all its messy gore onto the formerly pristine perfection of a blank page.
Writing is messy. The demon within begs us to be neat, orderly, tidy. Backspace! Delete it! Scratch it out! We beat him down, and beat him down again, “Not now!” His screams make us more uneasy but we’ve been told that by facing the page it gets easier to face again and again. We subdue the demon, vowing to call on him when his time comes. He has a purpose, later…
Meanwhile, we scrawl in blood on the page, drip by crimson drip, because putting something on the page is the way to get back to breathing. Putting something, anything, on the page is a way to loosen the knot in our stomach, the tingle in our fingers, the stutter on the tip of our tongue. Still, the words feel awkward, stupid, clumsy…
Today, I wanted to write. My heart aches from being locked away from the words but even with my deepest passions calling me to the page I quiver, anxiety’s baited breath against my throat. I stare at the blank page as words fall upon it and wonder, “WHEN!?! When will this get easier?”
And, with over ten years experience it dawns on me, “It won’t.”
Choosing to be a writer is an act of desperation. No one would choose this life of inner agony, heightened emotions, and tremulous turmoil if they could live their life another way. I find comfort in the fact that sometimes, sometimes fear gives way to a soul-encompassing joy. Sometimes, writing is like breathing. Sometimes, it is bliss, it is harmony. Sometimes…