Braking to Inspect the Blank Page

I was recently reminded of a topic I read about on numerous occasions. The topic is either very common, or it’s just coincidence that I seem to stumble upon it more than once.  It’s this idea of sitting down and writing almost like you are letting your thoughts spill out onto the page. It’s almost like you are writing, and you get into the right mindset. From there, you just continue to write. It’s that easy…in theory. Certainly, such a stance has its benefits. For example, once you have stuff down, it’s possible to correct it. However, the real benefit of it is this feeling of riding on the wave almost like you’re surfing. You get enough speed so that you can keep going almost endlessly.

Anyhow, let’s look at a different idea. What about breaking? What I mean by this is slowing down, maybe even stopping completely. Why? To think, to reconsider, and plan. Let’s look at an example.

There are times, when a writer rides on the wave just like a surfer. He has entered the right mindset. He’s in this trance of writing. He has accelerated enough so that he can just write, and then he stumbles upon an emotional scene, or a character that’s particularly complicated. His got the overarching idea of things, but the details are not set in stone. It might be a good idea to slow down at that point.

As a writer, you can glance over those sections, and keep the momentum going, but that might not be for the best. You could fill them with text that’s a placeholder, thinking that you’ll come back later.

Once you’ve got text in there, even if it is a mediocre piece of writing, you can molded into something else. That’s true, but you’re limited by that text. When you return to work on the scene, you’ll be zigzagging between the lines of text that wasn’t completely thought out. It might just be a little difficult to improve it. You can delete it, but personally, it’s hard to let go of that text sometimes as it is your creation. Writers defend their creation no matter what. =] That’s a good thing.

Therefore, looking at a blank page, can be a good thing. You’re planning. You’re crafting inside your mind. It’s all about possibility.

I believe that when you stop to think, you might be able to craft that scene more effectively.

Anyway, I’d like to end the post with a couple of questions. Is there value in a blank page, or is text better any day? When you’re on a roll, should you stop for those scene that are not completely thought out, or continue? I’d like to hear your opinions. Like always, feel free to comment and make suggestions.

Thanks for reading.
Patrick Rain

Image © Patrick Rain

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2 Responses to Braking to Inspect the Blank Page

  1. Hmm I think once I pause if I am riding the mythical wave of outpourings then it all comes to a halt. So stopping during that sort of phase isn’t beneficial for me.
    But as for a blank page or text, text is beneficial always, although if the quality is poor it’s not an acheivement, but can be molded afterwards upon reflection.
    Stopping to plan is a double edged sword. With short stories, stopping doesn’t generally help, I get out the loop, but with a novel that’s a long long road so some planning is definitely needed.

    • Patrick Rain says:

      This post was mostly concerned with longer works such as novels, so I agree this doesn’t really apply to a short story. When I was writing this, I was mostly thinking of those moments when you’re riding the wave, and then you’re stuck all of the sudden with no idea for a scene. Appreciate the contribution. =]

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