Me vs The Blank Page: An Epic Struggle

I can see it. The enemy. The thing that tells you that you are nothing, and you never will be. At least, not until you vanquish it. I can see it right now, waiting for me.

The blank page.

 

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It’s not easy to overcome. There is something about it, particularly if you have dreams of becoming a writer, that looks into your very soul. That looks into your brain and finds nothing worthy of tarnishing that beautiful, harrowing white landscape. Just like the day after a snowstorm. I could bundle up, go outside, and leave some tracks, but there is something beautiful in the emptiness. Plus, it’s cold out there. I think I’ll just stay inside and drink some hot chocolate…

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…and never become what I want to become. (Damn, harsh. But at least I have hot chocolate.)

They say (ugh, them) you should write every day. That writing is a skill that needs to be honed, a muscle that needs to be exercised. This means that every day (Ok, not every day for me. But every time I write.) you will come into contact with the blank page, and you will need to vanquish it.

This takes a lot. For instance, in a typical day of writing for me, I get into some pretty intense arguments with the page.

BLANK PAGE: You will not defeat me. You are nothing.

ME: I’m a writer!

BLANK PAGE: No.

ME: Ok.

It’s embarrassing how quickly I fold. On a better day, if I just read something inspiring or have a deadline coming up, I can be a little tougher.

BLANK PAGE: You will not defeat me. You are nothing.

Me: Yes I am something, I’m a writer.

BLANK PAGE: No.

ME: Ok, so I’m not really a “writer.” But what is a writer, really? What are any of us, really? What is life, really?

BLANK PAGE: Lame. Go away.

ME: BUT I HAVE A DEADLINE! I JUST READ JOAN DIDION AND I’M INSPIRED! I WILL BECOME SOMEONE!

BLANK PAGE: No.

Me: Fine. I’ll just drink coffee and read BuzzFeed articles, if you insist.

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Laziness wins again.

The blank page is always there, a line away, mocking me. I feel it if my writing is too short, I feel it if my writing becomes too long. I feel it if my point wavers or my prose slips.

I try to feel it every day. To (excuse the metaphor again) venture into the storm, and leave some tracks. Eventually, I hope to meet the blank page as an equal.

We will greet. We will bow. We will walk into the sunset together, a writer and words on a blank white page.

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