Monthly Archives: February 2013

Challenging the Blank/Unfinished Page

At this moment, I am staring back at the blinking line on my word processor. It is not the sole thing on the screen, but it still challenges me –– dares me to change whatever I choose in this mess that is my blood, sweat, and tears.

It’s usually painful for me to work on something that I’ve set aside for several months at a time. Perseverance is no exception. I put it on the back burner towards the end of October to start in on it’s prequel, Bane of Foes, and I have barely glanced at it since then. At last I am giving myself a break from BoF (which still needs tweaking) to take a look at its sister story, and I almost want to cry.

The scenes are too short, the story itself is too short, there are huge gaps in time (a regular issue with my writing), it lacks an ending, there’s endless unanswered questions, I need someone with a red pen to read it all the way through… The list goes on.

How do I ever get out of these editing blues? I’ll tell you. I just get up and do it. There’s no other way. It’s just like paying bills –– you don’t deal with it by expecting someone else to do it, and you certainly can’t ignore it, or it won’t get done. You just have to put on your big kid panties and get going. The first moments are royally painful, but that is the price of anything creative. It’s exactly like the empty page syndrome (as I choose to call it from now on) –– you have to be brave enough to make the first stroke on the white space that is staring at you, daring you to mar its perfect surface with whatever is in your mind at the moment. This brings me to another thought.

In my opinion, waiting for inspiration is one of the worst things for a creative mind. While things do happen spontaneously, such moments are few and far between. To get a constant flow –– whether it’s writing, painting, drawing, or anything else –– the artist must practice her skill on a regular basis. Sure, you’ll produce complete drivel sometimes. It happens. But you will find that as time passes, your work will mature and your mind will be quicker to pass that awkward “waiting” moment. It’s a discipline.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that nothing helps my writing better than deadlines. Mind you, I hate deadlines, but they are the one of the only things that push me to keep going when I don’t feel like it. For example, word count goals do amazing things for my writing.

So… don’t wait for inspiration to hit you on the back of the head and take over. Instead, sneak up on it and take the wheel. You may be happily surprised at what comes out.

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Filed under General, How To Edit, Writing Advice