A to Z Challenge: Bravery

Welcome to the second day of the A to Z Challenge, new and veteran novelists alike.

Today, I want to introduce you to the most intimidating obstacle to be found when you’re starting to write. It’s one that even makes us veteran’s cringe and flinch away. Even after many many encounters with this… deep… dark… okay dark won’t work.

TwoΒ dimensional… blank… white… first… page.

Okay, vets, you can stop hissing at it.

Ah good. I see some of you have your writing utensils out.

You see, new kids, there’s only one way to beat the scourge of the blank page. You need to be brave.

You need to look the pages right in the… uhm… blankness and find something to write on it. Don’t hesitate. Don’t think about the best way to approach it. The longer you wait, the bigger the page’s intimidation grows.

Attack it. Β Just write. And keep writing until the page is full.

And once it is, attack its little brother the second page too.

Once you get it done, you’ll find you’ll have a few days of furiously easy and fun writing. Enjoy it!

When was the worst time you had to face a blank page?

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117 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: Bravery

  1. I have a blank page I'm looking at right now and man, it's taking me a while to figure out what to do with it–but I will keep looking until something comes of it πŸ™‚

  2. Be brave and bold… *repeating the mantra*
    What if the attack works on the first one, but the little brother puts up a fierce fight… he might just be the stronger of the two…

  3. I love blank pages. There is always a new one ready for words. Words, words, words, just let them spill out. Don't look for meaning, don't try for perfection, just let your words free and see where they may lead you. Open your door and see the road and know that it leads everywhere. Open your mind and look at the blank page and know that it contains everything, every scrap of imagination, every story ever told, every story that will ever be told. The blank page just wants to be filled. It is forgiving and never ending.

    Sometimes my blank page is a napkin, a scrap of paper, the margin of a book. The blank page is the Golden Fleece, the Grail, the farthest reaches of the universe, the door into the unknown.

    A writer writes and when they have written and stopped, when they no longer hunger for the blank page, they are merely an author, someone who has written and may never write again. The blank page is life. Don't fear it, enjoy it.

  4. NO KIDDING! It doesn't matter if all I type is, “Writing is fun. Have a great day writing.” As long as I have SOMETHING on the page, I can write. If it's blank, well, you might find me hiding behind my cheese. =)

  5. Practice makes better and better!

    For Betty, thought comes before even looking at a blank page. Otherwise a blank page remains blank. After thought comes Betty's muse takes over!

    Writing is an emptying of the soul and spirit! It is vision becoming etched on paper!

    Enjoyed your post, Misha!!

  6. I've learned that you can never write too much. I've also learned that it's more important to get words on a page than to get it perfect the first time. Don't worry about structure, don't even worry about spelling, just write. Once you've got something on the page the rest is just clean up. By loosening up on structure you're better able to get the ideas down.

  7. Hi Misha. Ah the “Just Write” concept. This is so important to all of us, beginning writers in the first grade, beginning writers in adulthood, and experienced writers hitting a wall. Just write. I never associated it with the idea of bravery before, but you are right because it can often if not usually be fear that keeps us from putting pen to paper. And bravery applies to not only that but willingness to tackle difficult subjects on paper in life. Thanks for encouraging us today to be brave. God bless, Maria from Delight Directed Living

  8. Great advice, once there are words it's much less scary. The blankest page I've ever had was when I started the novel I published first (it wasn't the one I started writing first :)). I literally had no idea even what the concept of the novel was, I just knew I wanted to write a YA. So I just started writing with no idea what was going to turn up on the page – it was most exhilarating.

  9. oh that wondering what to write! I seem to get it nearly every time I start a new chapter – even scenes have me stumped sometimes. Yes, just getting down to it and just writing can help that (I often end up with waffle though *sigh*)

  10. Ah, the bane of existence, the blank page…good thing I like to pants it…otherwise I'd spend all my time plotting and get absolutely nowhere πŸ™‚

  11. Hi, Misha,
    The blank page is the worst thing to face when a deadline is racing toward me and I'm fresh out of ideas. Once I get going though, the words continue flowing.

  12. My worst blank page moment is coming up. I have to write the synopsis to my WIP. Blah! Hate the synopsis. But once I get those first words down and start to organize it usually goes better. I just dread it in the beginning.

  13. I am definitely not a writer, but sometimes just facing a blank blog post is very intimidating. I totally get what you're saying just from that point.

  14. I'm facing a blank page now, which is why I'm blog hopping instead of writing :-O No worries. I'll settle into it soon. I did just finish a short story… almost. The ending needs more punch. So, I'm thinking about that.

  15. *Shies from the blank page like a vampire from sunlight* I wonder how much of a writer's life is spent watching their cursor blinking…!

    I seem to be following you around today Misha; every blog I've commented on, you've commented just before me!

  16. My worst blank page was actually recently for a presentation abstract I had to get done. I spent nearly 3 months avoiding it, and finally the weekend before it was due, I finally sat down and wrote it out.
    It's amazing how different a page looks with even only a few words on it!

  17. Hahaha that's interesting. Because I mainly replied to comments on my blog from yesterday's posts. So apparently the same people commented on yours?

    But then, I visited about a 100 blog posts in total today, so maybe it was just dumb luck?

  18. Yeah.

    I once broke the blank page curse with the following words:

    “The gunk stuck to the roof of his mouth like peanut butter.

    He HATED peanut butter.”

    It ended up in the version of Doorways sold to Etopia. Weird how those things work.

  19. I can understand that. When you mentioned once that you started working on CassaStorm, I wondered how on earth you'd be able to follow up.

    Can't wait to see the answer to that question. πŸ˜€

  20. I recognise that blank page all too well. It takes a while to get going, to start the story off and get into the flow but there's no reason to give up. The right beginning will arrive. Great post! πŸ™‚

  21. Oh yeah! That's big.

    New writers put so much value on first words. Only later on does one learn that those first words almost never make it in their original form. If at all.

  22. Oh yeah definitely. That's one of the reasons why I draft the entire first draft by hand.

    Just much more liberating. Because I can't go back and try to fix something I'd just written.

  23. I have been trying to write events that I have experienced in a story form and find that harder then coming up with something purely fictional. Strange to recreate in words an event that has actually happened.

  24. Oh it does take bravery doesn't it? Or foolishness. Or both. Sometime I just pull out the Nike slogan and just do it. Just write. Type. Something. Even if it's crappy, it's out there. Then I can tweak to my heart's content.

  25. Usually those first words are the hardest. And it never gets easier. I can trick myself by stopping in the middle of a page. Or if I stopped at the end of a chapter, by leaving myself a message of what to write about or even 'start here'. Just so the screen isn't blank.

  26. That first page can sometimes be intimidating. I can't think of any specific worst time, but there's one WIP I have that I can't get the first page right. Dozens of rewrites and I'm still not satisfied.

  27. I don't tend to be intimidated by blank pages–I usually find them easier than working on a page that already has writing on it. But your message of bravery is true for a lot of writing scenarios!

  28. Blank pages are sometimes easier when it's actual paper, because I can scribble down ideas, however blah, cross them out, write down some more, cross those out, go back to a previous idea, scratch that out, try out a couple more ideas, repeat, go back to idea 2, and so on until I hit on a sentence that prompts a second and a third sentence and a fourth and more I can keep. I might have a page or two of crossed out sentences and fragments, but the act of writing helps get the flow going, and I have proof I was working. The page isn't blank anymore.

    One time I dealt with blank page syndrome when I was out somewhere. I started off writing how blank my mind was, then gradually started noting down observations of my surroundings which led to some actually pretty words about one part of it. I've never used those words, but it felt good.

  29. Great advice – I have discovered through this challenge that I always delete my first two paragraphs – so i put down whatever sequence of events comes to my mind and Nanowrimo taught me not to edit – at least until I have written something – anything πŸ˜‰

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