Ever since I have been writing, two things have been regularly thrown in my direction.
The first is that at some point all writers get writers block, the second is that a blank page is a scary thing.
I’ve written about writers block numerous times before so I won’t go over that again (however, to paraphrase it for any newbies, in essence I believe it’s a myth designed to excuse one of any number of basic failings) but the issue of the blank page is something I’ve rarely discussed. As I sit here facing a new one today, now seems as good a time as any.
Now, however unlikely it might be, all writers have to believe that somewhere deep inside us is the ability to pen a booker prize winning novel, a ‘Harry Potter’ style literary phenomenon or an Oscar winning screenplay.
The blank page signifies what is possibly the beginning of the journey toward the creation of that very book or script and like the start of any journey, there are two ways of looking at it. You can either be pessimistic or optimistic. Which one you choose, or rather which one chooses you, is wholly dependent on the type of person you are.
The pessimist of course, will suspect that it is highly likely that within a first few pages, they will realise that this new project won’t be the big break they are dreaming of and instead, even as they sit there hammering away, they are going to be accompanied by that awful sense of hope evaporating.
And as hope rolls away, it will be replaced by the standard writers fears of exposure, of failure, of making yourself look stupid and possibly worst of all, of being boring. Who on earth would want to risk any of that let alone willingly put themselves through it?
Yes, all of that and more lurks on that single A4 page or a blank screen filled with nothing but white. Having written 15 books and numerous screenplays, I can state that with authority.
Thankfully, these days I tend to be a bit more confident and far from fearing the blank page, I love it! And for one very specific reason: it signifies power. Power to create anything I want to create be it non-fiction, fiction, thriller, comedy, male, female, sex, crime, football… anything.
A blank page gives me freedom to develop characters from my own imagination and make them do whatever I want them to do be it good, bad or even evil. I can make them love, hate or even kill them off, horribly if I want. And all of that comes from nothing other than my imagination. That’s what I call power! Real power!
That, in essence, is exactly what I’m facing at the moment. For today I start work on a new novel based on a recently completed screenplay.
It’s very different from my previous novels in that it’s about the military but in many ways, that makes it even more exciting as I can call on my own experiences in uniform. However, if the novel proves half as enjoyable to write as the movie version was, it’s going to be brilliant fun and since I write primarily for me, that’s all that matters.
Blank page… don’t be frightened of it, love it. It’s everything any writer could ever want.
Wings of a Sparrow also continues to do well in both paperback and eBook formats and I’m hoping that like the movie version of Top Dog, this will also make the leap to the screen at some point very soon.
All being well, I’ll also be able to pass on news of another movie project in the very near future.
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