Today starts National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. I also call it The Month of High Hopes. Every year I get excited for NaNoWriMo, determined that I am going to reach the 50,000 word novella point and finally finish a book in a month. Sadly, that’s a feat I have not yet been able to complete. BUT one day I will. In the meantime I will just keep on trying. The thought is exciting and motivating and makes me feel like I’m flying. Writing is something I love so much, but don’t always get the time to do. But what’s nice about writing is that when I can’t sit in front of my spiral notebook dedicated to my story, I can always be brainstorming and planning the next chapter in my head at any point of the day. So in theory, I have most of the story, I just need to write it all down just the way I’ve imagined it in my head for all these years.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?
I hate blank pages. They stare at you. Very impolite. They like to torment you because they think that you don’t have anything worthwhile to put on their page. In my case sometimes that’s true. But I like to think that sometimes I prove them wrong, right? But seriously, it’s intimidating to start a brand new page, there’s so much potential and you have so many expectations that it is hard to do it all justice.
Sometimes you have absolutely nothing to say and that blank page seems to just sit there and mock you. When I have to write a paper for a class, I get mocked a lot by said page, because I can never manage to think of a good introduction paragraph that leads into the content I am about to discuss. Same goes with the beginning of a story I want to write. The beginning has to be just as important as the rest of the writing that comes afterward.
How do you get through the blank page? Do you sit there and stare back at it until one of you gives in? Sometimes. Do you write gibberish to fill in the blanks and move on, just so you can get through it and then later edit through it and correct it as needed?
What do you do to face the mockery of the blank page?
It can be the enemy, but it can also be a window to all the possibilities that can take place there. Sometimes you have to start small, go sentence by sentence to see what it can bring you, where it can take you and what it can teach you along the way.
When I’m not being frustrated with the challenge of a blank page, I take that time to stop and think about the story and what can be the next step, the next journey for my characters and see what can thicken and improve the plot line.
What does a blank page mean to you?
I run as fast as I can to the run down tree house in the back of the yard. Frantically grabbing at the ladder, misshapen from the years of wear and tear. I skip the first two steps and slam my foot on the third, and hear a loud crack as the wood gives in. Quickly I grab onto the top step and use it to lift myself up into the tree house–my hope of safety. Gert, the one who is supposedly raising me, will be home any minute now and will probably see the missing vase, the only thing that resembles anything valuable in our home, that is actually tossed in the trash pit on the side of our tiny house, in pieces. She’ll be mad. Even more so if she is in the condition she is mostly in, the condition she has been most of my life.
I think about making a run for It for the rest of the evening, I know I would be better off on the streets of New York with the few people I can trust. But Gert normally is home by now, and I am afraid that the moment I take off will be the exact moment she storms in and catches me, mid escape, It’s best if I hide in here for a while until I know the coast is clear.
I think about what I’ll do in my evening to myself later on. I can visit my best friend, Amberlise, maybe even see Jack, another good friend of mine. Get some food from the vender of the street that gives me some of his leftovers before he packs up for the night. The thought of being out and about and away from here gets me so excited. So anxious to leave already. I can’t wait any longer. I hop down the ladder, making sure to skip the third step and dash through the yard. It appears I am in the clear and I’ve worried for nothing, that I spent so much unnecessary time hiding out in that tree house when I could have headed out right away. I am a few feet away from leaving the property when I see just the person I have been avoiding make their way closer and closer to me.