A lot of times being a writer means you just sit at your computer and stare at a blank Word document for most of the day. Maybe you watch the cursor pulsing, waiting for you to make it type out some beautiful masterpiece. Maybe you stare at the whiteness until your eyes hurt and you call it a day. Maybe you type a few letters and hit backspace so fast they can’t even process their short existence and abrupt end. All that is normal of course. I mean, yeah, we look like crazy people. Even more so if you’re one of the ones that talks to yourself or your monitor during this process (guilty as charged and probably why I have to write when the house is empty). But that’s okay. Here, crazy means normal. Throw in some tears, punch your swivel chair, or threaten to murder your keyboard? Well, you’re probably a literary genius then.
So here’s a quote I picked up along my writing journey. I was still in high school when I came across this, and I wrote it down. It’s stayed with me ever since.
“The hard part is getting to the top of page one.” –Tom Stoppard
It’s not that it offers advice or consolation. It’s that it speaks the truth. It offers hope. One of the hard parts of writing is beginning, pushing yourself, and making that first step. You might be like me and have this urge to write all day but you can’t figure out how to start. I try out different openings and delete them, afraid to commit to them and make them my novel’s beginning. So each time I delete an opening paragraph, it’s back to the top of the blank white screen as though no progress was ever made. It feels like failure, but being able to recognize when something isn’t your best or isn’t working is more of a victory in the long run.
Writing is a choice. You have to decide you want it and then decide to do it. And that’s your first step. The hard part is beginning your journey and reaching the top of that first page. Once you tackle that, you can tackle all the white blank pages that come after it.
So dive in, allow yourself to grow, embrace your crazy, and don’t be afraid to use that backspace key.
What does your writing day look like? Do you have trouble finding your way to the top of the first page? Post below!