Friday, July 1, 2016

The Paralyzing Blank Page ...

Chapter 1 … cursor blinking … waiting for your brilliance to skillfully unroll the clever, original masterpiece framed out in your head in a way no one else can. But what comes first? What comes next? What if it’s not right?

Maybe you’ve written one book or twenty, but that blank page and that taunting cursor can pose the greatest threat to a writer’s confidence. I myself have finished three big beautiful books that I am incredibly proud of and yet … almost every time I sit down with that blank page of possibilities I start to doubt myself. When does this end? When will I earn enough stripes, or reviews, or accolades to feel like less of a neurotic mess every time I type those two words?

I’ve talked with enough writers and authors to know that this is not a unique struggle. That blank page is daunting. There’s no real cure because our minds are stubborn. Not just in our self-doubt but also in our need to precisely weave the story we are compelled to tell. A big task. A gigantic commitment.

A LOT of pressure.

Maybe it’s the pressure you mount on yourself. Or maybe the external pressures of expectant fans and agents and publishing houses help keep us in that perpetual state of insecurity, but I do know this to be true …

And this …
And THIS! (lest you start thinking I have a thing for Stephen King - wise and talented as he is!)

Don’t give up. Nothing that is worth having comes easy. Great stories are birthed out of a passionate struggle to present the words just right. But don’t let the fear of failure stop you. Each word, each chapter (that will undoubtedly need to be re-written more than once) is a victory. And one step closer to completing the story of your heart you will hone and edit to perfection.

Just write. And keep writing.

The labor is worth it. <3

TALK TO ME: Has your creativity ever been stunted by that intimidating blank page? Or what other challenges have you faced completing your story? Happy Friday, dreamers! 

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Amy Leigh Simpson writes romantic mysteries with honesty and humor, sweetness and spice, and gritty reality covered by grace. When she’s not stealing moments at naptime to squeeze out a few more adventures in storyland, she’s chasing around two tow-headed miscreants (Ahem)—boys, playing dress up with one sweet princess baby, and being the very blessed wife to the coolest, most swoon-worthy man alive. Amy is a Midwestern-girl, a singer, blogger, runner, coffee-addict, and foodie. Her Sports Medicine degree is wasted patching up daily boo boo’s, but whatever is left usually finds its way onto the page with fluttering hearts, blood and guts, and scars that lead to happily ever after.

Check out her NEW romantic mystery novel FROM WINTER'S ASHES! Available NOW!


Glynis said...

The blank page is completely intimidating! I think it's the whole "a body in motion tends to stay in motion" thing and a blank page is no motion at all. Once you star the ball rolling that motion begins to feed itself, but the beginning can be tough. Thanks for the word of encouragement today, Amy. And so excited to see your next book out! Can't wait to read it!

kaybee said...

Yes, I have felt that way. Not on the first page, that usually comes to me before I start, but at some point or other I am bound to get bogged down. It is intimidating, but we need to work through it and we do. Sigh.
Kathy Bailey

Unknown said...

Getting over that first hump of fear is always the most difficult part for me. Before I put anything down on (virtual) paper I'm always gripped with this desperate fear that it's all awful and won't ever really work out. Once I push past that and actually get started, it's usually much easier from there.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Glynis, I'm so glad this resonated with you! I'm the same way, once I get on a roll and the wheel is greased up I fly through the pages. But that stagnant beginning is soooo scary! Can't wait to hear what you think of FROM WINTER'S ASHES!!!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Kathy, I'll admit that it's not always just chapter one. Sometimes a chapter ends and I panic all over again! We writers are so well adjusted, it's scary ;)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Caitlin! Totally! What's that they say about how to eat an elephant??? One bite at a time ;) gross, but a good metaphor for chipping away at a story!