Nothing Vs Something. Why I prefer a blank page to a written one.

A Soul Destroying Page (Corrections from Balzac)

A Soul Destroying Page
(Corrections from Balzac, Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve had a challenging week. At the moment I don’t feel I am reaching my potential. It is as if I am striving for something that is currently out of reach. Perhaps it’s the recent considerations regarding aspirations and defining success. I’m feeling a bit lost again – not in what to do, but in myself: in finding the motivation and passion for the editing process that I am now struggling so much with.

Taking part in Story a Day is demonstrating to me just how much I enjoy the creative process of initial ideas, of jumping straight in and building the scaffold for an imaginary world that transforms the page from blank to meaningful. I’ve had lots of practice at this by now, so this process doesn’t intimidate me. Editing, however, still does and I’m not convinced I really know what it is I’m doing, so I stumble. As a result I lose confidence, willingness and become afraid to try. This is certainly reflected in my tasks attempted this week:

To do list Review

May 6th – 12th 

1. Type up as much of Cecelia’s section of the novel (NaNo #1) as possible – I managed to type up about 1,500 words. Typing up seems to take longer than actual writing, which I didn’t expect. Am going to continue this throughout the next week. 

2. Finish writing Cecelia’s section of the novel – final four scenes – This, I decided, is best done after I have completed typing up the previous scenes. I don’t want to lose the flow of the character, and I feel I will be better able to achieve the right ‘voice’ once I’ve rehashed the previous scenes. When I did sit down to try and do this, I drew a blank, even with my prompt cards telling me what I needed to write about. It’s not ready to come yet, so I’ll leave it to steep. 

3. Write a Story a Day and post it up on my Story a Day page – I have really, really enjoyed doing this. A year ago it seemed like an effort to sit down and write a story a day, but now with a year’s experience behind me, and two NaNoWriMo challenges done, I feel much more confident in sitting down every day to write something. The ideas come easier, the writing flows quicker and the reward is that I feel like I am really achieving something that will take me forward over the month. 

4. Sketch out Goals, Motivation and Conflict for minor characters in NaNo #1 – I almost started writing another novel thanks to this task! I already have an idea based on one of these minor characters of Madeleine’s life – her daughter – and how this could be turned into a kind of ‘sequel’ to the current NaNo #1. Therefore, when writing Rachel’s GMC’s I got a bit carried away. On the plus side, I now can’t wait for November because I’ve decided this will be my next NaNoWriMo writing challenge: NaNo #3! 🙂

5. Complete Bingo Story for submission – Another failure here I’m afraid. I read it over and over, edited it down, played around with some ideas but nothing convinced me. For some reason I dislike this story now and nothing I do appears to make it worthy of my attention. I came to the conclusion that I don’t believe it’s ‘good enough’ and so sending it off would only be applying for failure. 

Having a plan and sticking to it are staples of my everyday routine. I thrive on to-do lists and get so much more done when I know what it is I am required to do. Yet, editing is still a new thing for me. So far I haven’t successfully discovered the right way to do this: nor do I have any outside acknowledgement that what I am doing is right.

Give me a blank page and I know what to do with it!

Give me a blank page and I know what to do with it!

It feels the same way as when I started on the path to write a novel in the first place. Except now, I have the bare bones of the story and the characters and the words that created them, but I have to go back to the beginning and start over with it all. I’m used to starting with nothing, with a blank page to do with what I like. Starting with something, that is what poses the difficulty now and I don’t know what to do with it. Who would have thought it?

In an effort to cut myself some slack and give my brain a rest from the ravages of attempting editing when I just don’t feel secure with it, I am taking a week off from my ‘to-do list’. This could be a mistake. However, it could also be just what I need to make me realise that the next stage of my journey is a very different one, just as significant to the process as the initial writing phase but that requires the same amount of focus, determination and the faith of trial and error.

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5 responses to “Nothing Vs Something. Why I prefer a blank page to a written one.

    • Me too – but I don’t seem capable of it! Already made copious notes on Chapter 1 of NaNo #1 today and about to create brand new document titled: DRAFT 1!

      Sometimes, removing the pressure actually increases productivity!

      Hope you’re doing well hon! x

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