Friday, January 6, 2012

The Blank Page

One of my New Year's Resolutions, as mentioned in this post, was to write more.  To accomplish this lofty goal I stated that I would purchase some composition books/journals in order to write down all the stuff that floats around in my head.  It could be random.  It could be notes about a story, or whatever I needed to clear out so that I could focus more on the more formal writing and blogging.  This is what I have done.  I went to Target and purchased two wide-ruled composition books.  I would have preferred college-ruled, but for $0.94 each, I wasn't going to complain.

So, now I have these two notebooks.  I've been carrying one of them with me to work for last couple days on the off chance I need to write something down.  I have yet to write anything.  I keep meaning to, but the thought of staring at a blank piece of paper is intimidating.  I don't seem to have this problem with the computer, though.  For example, this blog entry is flowing quite well and I don't feel any fear what-so-ever.  I guess because if I mess something up, I can just hit the delete key and start over.  I won't have to look at any evidence that I may have made a mistake.  On paper, even if you use a pencil, there will still be some physical evidence that it happened.  Also, writing on paper is more of a physical act than typing on a computer.  Paper has texture and takes up space.  A computer screen is all virtual.  I can minimize this window or even close it all together.  At that point, it doesn't exist.  I don't have to look at it.  Writing by hand also represents a failure to me.

Growing up, I always had difficulty writing by hand.  Some testing I had done in college suggested that I have something called "Dysnomia".  Call it what you will, all I know is that writing in school was a very difficult thing for me.  In class essays were the worst.  While most other students had written a page or two, I was still struggling with the first two paragraphs.  It wasn't that I didn't understand the material, but rather I had a very difficult time physically writing.  Spelling was a huge issue and there were times I would leave out entire words from a sentence.  There were also times where the thought would get so disjointed that it wouldn't even make sense.  Needless to say, it was frustrating.

Given that "failure" (at least in my mind), it is no wonder that the thought of writing by hand in a journal would be scary.  It's hard to shut out those negative voices that say I can't do it.  It doesn't matter that what I'm writing is just bits and pieces.  There should be no pressure to adhere to grammar, spelling, or even the lines on the page.  It's an open book, so to speak.  Tabula Rasa.  A blank page with which I can start anew.  Intellectually, it makes sense.  Unfortunately, emotions are not rational.

I know that I will have to get over this fear if I am to become a successful writer.  Success, in my case, is writing freely and not necessarily becoming a bestselling author.  Don't get me wrong, it would be awesome if that happened, but I won't hold it as a measurement of my success.

Till next time, with fear and loathing in my brain.

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