Facing the blank page

The next group of students to graduate from the University of Hull’s BA (Hons) in Creative Writing are ordering their caps and gowns as I write… and what have I done with my writing since graduating last July? Unashamedly self-published my short stories collection of course! I’ve also learned (the hard way) about what not to do when going down the self-publishing route. What doesn’t kill you etc, etc…

I am now faced with a blank page – the first in my beautiful new note book (my reward for completing a writing project). My beautiful new pen (another reward) is poised… ready for my next adventure on Writers’ Way: A devotional book of prayers and meditations (with sketches) to open a route into a personal relationship with God (something completely different from my disturbing slice-of-life short stories).

I know in facing this blank page that I’m not suffering from writers’ block… I’m merely waiting for my muse to inspire me with beautiful words with which to adorn the page. I don’t want to waste a first page experience with a sprint writing exercise to enable my words to flow from my head to my fingertips… I want a ready-made perfectly worded piece of prose so that my venture has a beautiful springboard to bounce off and get itself going. Maybe it should be a prayer then? 

Whilst waiting for my muse to wake from its comatose state, my random thoughts search through the unorganised chaos of my imagination and, in a sudden flash, a blink of an eye that I would have missed had I not been waiting idly for something to happen, I discover why I can’t start. It’s so simple that it was difficult to fathom out at first. It is this: I haven’t let go of my characters from my stories yet. After all, I spent hours, days, weeks, months with them and know them intimately… like a second skin. I haven’t celebrated their lives… honoured the dead, as they say, in an official letting go ceremony. I’ve dashed straight on to the next thing without giving myself time to rest and reflect in the process of producing something I’ve created, and bask in the glory of its completion.

I look at my blank page again after my thoughts subside and… it has these beautiful words written on it – haiku style.

Prayers of devotion

embrace a new creation

to honour the dead.

See how it works? You can do a sprint exercise in your mind, not just on paper, and the words will write themselves.

Try it… you’ll see what I mean. You will need…

a blank page.

Have fun!

with love, Julie

PS. I believe a writing block can be likened to a prayer block. Therefore, if your writing’s blocked, pray – if your prayer’s blocked, write. If both should become blocked simultaneously, rest in random thoughts. These thoughts can become a prayer to provide you with words to write (or vice versa).

(Examples of pathways to prayer will be illustrated in my next project… watch this space)