Sunday, January 11, 2009

Margay Leah Justice On Filling a Blank Page

Guest Post: Margay Leah Justice
Interview: Can be found a couple posts down.
Comment if you're reading!

I am a blank page. I am only eight and a half inches wide, eleven inches long. To most people, I am unprepossessing, boring, blank. But to you, I am the most intimidating opponent you will ever face. Why, you might ask. Because you are a writer and a blank page is the most fearsome enemy you will ever face in your journey along the creative road.

But I can be conquered. You just have to want to try. You just have to face the fear. Take the writer who is filling up this page at this very moment. The writer had no idea what to write when she first sat down at the keyboard. Did she let that stop her? No. She took the very idea of the blank page syndrome and turned it into something to talk about. You can, too. The key to doing so is quite simple, really.

Just write.

It doesn’t matter what you write, at first. Just sit down, place your fingers over the keys and write. So what if Shakespeare’s masterpiece doesn’t flow from your fingers on the first pass, or even the second? Do you think he only wrote one draft and was done? Not likely. Neither should you. So sit down and write. It doesn’t matter what you write as long as words flow onto the page; you can always go back and edit later. That’s the beauty of it all. Once the words are there, you can go back and play with them. Rearrange them on the page. Make them dance across the white space that was once blank. You see, editing is not your enemy, either – but that’s another story.

So remember, all of you writers out there, established or emerging, it’s you against the blank page.

Don’t let the blank page win. Write.

Margay Leah Justice is the author of Nora’s Soul, available now on You can read more about her ather website where she fights a daily about against the blank page.


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Nice guest post Margay! Quite interesting and a unique premise to write about. I loved it though because it's so true. I really hate looking at a blank screen, but I suppose we all really do need to just start writing and see where it goes.


Margay said...

Lauren, thank you! Yes, I know, it's quite the phenomenon, isn't it? What is it about the blank page that we find so intimidating? I think sometimes we just need to jump in and write, not even think about what we write, just do it. Disconnect the internal editor and the perfectionist and fly by the seat of our pants. It might not be the best stuff you've ever written, but at least you wrote something. You can always edit it out later. The point is, once you start writing, the words just flow and the blank page beast is conquered. Try it!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Margay: Definitely a good way of going about things. I should try it out next time I'm faced with the challenge of filling up a blank screen or a blank page.

I think the emptiness of it just makes you feel like you have so far to still go, you know? I suppose that's the hard part.


Margay said...

Lauren, maybe the trick is to get a device that only displays a couple of lines at a time, like an Alpha Smart. That way you're not faced with such a daunting space of unclaimed territory to fill.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Margay: I've never heard of that, but I think you might be right. If you only see a tiny bit of empty space, you can fill it up much easier and have a greater sense of accomplishment.


Rebecca j vickery said...

Hi Margay,
Just read your, oh so true, blog on blank pages. They can be really intimidating. And when you fill one, then there is another and another. The challenge never ends, but maybe that's why we are writers. We just can't back away from the challenge of the blank page. Rebecca J Vickery

Margay said...

Rebecca, thanks for reading this. The good thing is, once you start filling the page up, no matter what you write, it takes away some of the power the blank page has over you and it's not so intimidating anymore.