Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Blank Page by Terri Weldon

When I started this blog post I couldn’t think of a single thing to blog about. I had put out numerous feelers to find a guest blogger with no luck. So, it was up to me to come up with something witty to say. Warning to readers: I am not a witty woman, proceed at your own risk. So, I opened a new file on my computer.

Is there anything scarier than a blank page? Whether it is a pristine white sheet of printer paper, a blinking cursor on your computer screen, a lined sheet of notebook paper, or the back of an envelope when it’s empty, it’s scary. Especially when you can’t think of anything to cover all that empty space.

Countless times I’ve read that readers like white space. And they do. They just don’t like it when all the space is white. If they did, I could write a New York Times bestseller.

My dilemma got me thinking. What do writer’s do when they can’t think of anything to fill up a page? I’ll share a few things I’ve done and I hope you’ll leave a comment sharing your tips.

1. Sometimes I just write junk and then that junk will get my creative juices flowing. Other authors call it freewriting.
2. I’ve been known to write the beginning of a new story. Same reason – just to get the muse to work. Once it is, then it’s back to the story at hand.
3. Other time I just plow through it. The words might be stinky, but they can be fixed in the editing phase.
4. Ashamed to admit this, but sometimes I shut the file and do something else.
5. Pray for words.

The most enjoyable of the tricks is writing the beginning of a new story simply because that’s my favorite part of any new book.

The most beneficial is plowing through and fixing whatever is wrong during the editing phase. That way I stay on track and finish my story on time.

What do you do when facing the dreaded blank page? What tip works best for you? I’d love it if you’d leave me a comment. Plus, you’ll save me from looking at more white space! 😊

Terri Weldon feels blessed to be a full time writer. She enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, and shopping for shoes. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction.  She lives with her family in the Heartland of the United States. Terri has two adorable Westies – Crosby and Nolly Grace. Terri is a member of ACFW and RWA.

Readers can connect with Terri:
Website
Facebook
Seriously Write

16 comments:

  1. "Countless times I’ve read that readers like white space. And they do. They just don’t like it when all the space is white." Now that is witty! :)

    Like you, Terri, I've found #3 to be so true. It has come in especially handy with my latest book. :) I don't have trouble starting a story. It's after those first three chapters that I bog down and face that blank sheet.

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    1. I'm so excited to read your next book!

      You can't imagine all the stories I have started! Guess I have too many blank page moments. I'm glad to hear starting a new book is a strategy that works for someone else as well.

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  2. The blank page is definitely scary, but I've learned to look at it like opportunity. So many wonderful things can fill that page and I'm the one that gets to do it! Yeah, sometimes what I fill it with isn't so wonderful, but that's the beauty of it. I can make that page blank again and start over.
    Great post, Terri. Don't let anyone (even the voices in your head) tell you you're not 'witty'. You made me LOL

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    1. I love your attitude! I never thought of it as an opportunity and now I will.

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  3. Shutting the file and doing something else is sometimes a great brain-motivator. Wasn't it Agatha Christie who said she worked on her books while doing the dishes? I find going on a walk, baking and decorating a cake, or reading someone else's work helps my brain with ideas. Taking a break from writing or closing the file might just be the best thing we can do for our writing. Then when we come back to the file, we have something to add to it. I also like your #5. The times I've cried out, "God, help me with this mess of writing I've created!" are numerous. But, for whatever reason, I'm always extra surprised when He does. Terri, thank you for writing this post.

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    1. "God, help me with this mess of writing I've created." I love that and it definitely echoes my heart.

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  4. You are wittier than you realize, Terri! ;)
    Thanks so much for sharing this post, because I think all writers can relate to the scary, helpless feeling of looking at a blank page. Your suggestions are great!

    Something I've done--whether it's for a blank page or simply feeling that my words are litter-box worthy--is to turn away from my computer and color. :) I have always loved coloring, and had to laugh a few years ago when "adult coloring" became a trend. As I'm adding color to a picture, my mind often takes off and I end up thinking of ways to make my story stronger. Needlepoint also helps me with this--something about working with my hands stirs those words and ideas in my mind. (Of course, I have to pause and grab a pen, scribbling down the idea before it leaves, LOL).

    Thanks so much for sharing, and may all our blank pages be filled!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. Patti Jo, I love to color! I was thrilled when adult coloring became popular. I'll have to see if it helps me when I get stuck.

      What you said about writing down a story idea is so true. It amazes me how quickly I can forget a great idea.

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  5. Oh, yes! That dreaded white page! Ugh!Sometimes it helps to just start writing anything. Other times, I need to give myself permission to take a break and just daydream - let my mind wander. It's amazing what the brain will come up with when we give it a chance. LOL!

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    1. Dawn, I've actually written about how I can't think of anything to write! Now that's sad. :-(

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  6. The simple act of starting is monumental sometimes. If I tell myself, "First you'll see white but it won't be long before there'll be lots of letters to take its place so get to it" my brain engages from a far better starting point. I also step away from the computer when I'm stuck and look for clues to what God might be trying to get me to write about before I trek back to my office. Great post, Terri!

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    1. Great suggestion, Mary. I need to try that. Kind of like tricking the mind.

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  7. Oh, Terri, your comments on white spaces made be laugh! I'm definitely frozen by the blank page! I appreciate your tips. I do try to power through when I'm stuck. Since I'm a plotter, I usually know where the story is going, so if I'm frozen in a certain spot, I'll skip ahead and write another section. Yes, I'm one of those scene hoppers. Thanks again for the smile!

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    1. Oh, how I yearn to be a better plotter! I pretty much stink st it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a panster, just a bad plotter. My sister is forever having to help me out.

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  8. I've definitely done all five of those things when faced with a blank page - especially 3 and 5. One additional thing that helps me is listening to music. I leave the page open and by the third or fourth song, I'll usually have an idea or two. Then I turn the music off and get to work (I need silence for the actual writing part). Thanks for a fun post, Terri!

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  9. Laura, I like to write with praise music and a candle. I may try listening to songs that go along genre wise with what I'm writing and see if that would help. That I would have to do before starting to write.

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