That said, allow me to post an inspirational quote. I'll even throw in an inspirational photo of an old fashioned typewriter and a blurry background of inspirational autumn:
A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream.
Aww. Isn't that inspiring?
Eh hmm. Truth?
I despise the blank page. When I read that quote, the first thing I noticed was that the guy's last name ended with lard, and I imagined him with a bushy beard and fried chicken on its way to his mouth. I did not envision myself typing away, glorying in the beauty and sheer miracle of the blank page.
The blank page is crap.
The only writerly thing that truly satisfies me is the page that's filled from beginning to end with words. That's where the story becomes a living, breathing thing full of possibility. When I first dream up a story idea, I get so excited I can hardly sit still enough to start writing it. But it doesn't take more than a few thousand (or hundred) words before I begin to despair. SO MUCH BLANK SPACE.
You'd think I weren't romantic or something. Honestly, I am. I'm a die-hard fan of grand gestures and fields of poppies and the ballet and Paris and writing at Starbucks and mud wrestling. Not the last two.
But I'm not particularly fanciful. I'm not the type to spend hours pinning things to Pinterest or finding just the right songs for my books' playlists or digging up quotes for my sanity. Perhaps it's a matter of practicality (or the sanity is already lost). I have two children and a husband to feed and water and my volunteer hours are ridiculous (seriously, go ahead and crown me Martyr of the Year.) But mostly, I'm really impatient. I don't want to fantasize about my stories. I want to live them. And I can't do that until I've written something. And that's bloody difficult. First drafts are killer. I will often rush through them just to have words on the page--something to work with, at least. I'm the photographer who doesn't necessarily envision the shot and then take it; I must take it and then work it until it becomes something glorious.
I just can't really see the story until I've written it. It's like I have to have a frame of reference in order to function artistically, but the frame of reference is inside my head not yet written--I've never found it outside of myself. That's the kicker. But by the time I've got a rough story written out, I'm so impatient to jump into revision, I don't want to go searching for stuff other people have tumblred and pinned and whatever to work the kinks out of the book. I just want to find my own story by digging inside my own head even more.
There is a certain vanity to this, I admit. But mostly just impatience.
Maybe this means I'm not a true artist?
It may be, though, there are simply two kinds of writers. Those that love the blank page and the endless possibility (these may be the ones who dream and fantasize and pin before the words come); and those who detest the blank page and revel in revision, dreaming and pinning and whatnot after the initial words. And then there's me who doesn't pin at all but thrashes inside my own mind looking for people and things that have never existed outside my head. Oh the folly. The torture...
You know that fiction, prose rather, is possibly the roughest trade of all in writing. You do not have the reference, the old important reference. You have the sheet of blank paper, the pencil, and the obligation to invent truer than things can be true. You have to take what is not palpable and make it completely palpable and also have it seem normal and so that it can become a part of experience of the person who reads it.--Ernest Hemingway
See, Ernest gets me. And I get him. I, however, don't really get Pinterest.
I'm not entirely sure how this post on the crapulous blank page turned into a call for help with Pinterest.