10 Quotes for Writing When You’re Staring at a Blank Page

14 Nov

The blank page.  So full of potential, yet perhaps the most intimidating for some people.  If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo or just starting a new writing project, you may be facing the blank page wondering where to begin your story or what you even want to say.  Here are some famous quotes by authors who have come before us to inspire and encourage us when we’re faced with a blank page:

So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it.  ~Harold Acton

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.  ~Vladimir Nabakov

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air.  All I must do is find it, and copy it.  ~Jules Renard

If you haven’t got an idea, start a story anyway. You can always throw it away, and maybe by the time you get to the fourth page you will have an idea, and you’ll only have to throw away the first three pages. ~William Campbell Gault

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.  ~William Wordsworth

Find the key emotion; this may be all you need know to find your short story. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.  ~William Makepeace Thackeray

Write down the thoughts of the moment.  Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.  ~Francis Bacon

First thought best thought. ~Allen Ginsberg

Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~Joseph Heller


How do you approach a blank page?


7 Responses to “10 Quotes for Writing When You’re Staring at a Blank Page”

  1. Orlando November 14, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    It’s interesting how every form of art has it’s frustrations and moments of missing inspiration. From painting, to the written word, to the culinary arts etc.

  2. Ron Fischman November 14, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    My $0.02 – Something you wrote sometime, regardless how bad, asks a question you were trying to answer it. Answer it this time!

    • Stephanie Nikolopoulos November 14, 2012 at 10:34 am #

      I agree! In fact, i was talking with agents last week, and they said the same thing — that sometimes you need to overwrite so you as the author understand the subject matter. Then, you can cut back and only keep what’s necessary and well written.

  3. martinbrauch November 15, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    Loved the post! I endorse Thackeray’s view in particular. I often feel that I think in written form 🙂


  1. How to Write in Flow - PRYMD - September 3, 2016

    […] Another reason and a big one for me personally, is that this approach to writing allows you to get words, even less-than-perfect words, down on the page. The psychological effect of this should not be underestimated; the fear of ‘The Blank Page’ is so ubiquitous amongst serious writers that many of your literary heroes have quotes about it. […]

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