Tag Archives: writing frustration

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?

Writing Wednesday: Impersonating My Voice

16 Feb

I dress according to my mood.  I don’t mean I just dress for the occasion; I mean my style itself is subject to whim.  On Monday I could fit into the category of preppy but by Thursday I could be mistaken as a hipster.

Is it any surprise, then, that one of my biggest writing frustrations is finding my voice?  It seems absurd that one would need to find her writing “voice.”  Isn’t voice something inherent?

Yes, and no.

The Million’s recent interview between novelist Bill Morris (Motor City, All Soul’s Day) and personal essayist Carl H. Klaus, author of the new book The Made-Up Self: Impersonation in the Personal Essay, confirmed my thoughts on voice.  In the article, “When We Aspire to Write Like Ourselves,” Klaus discusses the “fluid nature of the self,” and says,

To think that I could in fact create a style that was an echo of such a multi-sided thing as the self – that’s simply a cuckoo notion.

I feel vindicated.  Critics have been saying for years to beware of the constructed identities of authors.  However, it’s refreshing to consider the author’s struggle in creating a portrait of self.  While, writers may acknowledge creating a personae—a “character”—of themselves, either out of convenience or agenda, there seems to be less talk about the struggle of figuring out who their “character” is.

I certainly have a perspective that is uniquely my own, but depending on the subject matter, my feelings toward it, and whom I suspect will read my work, my tone, diction, and style shift.  I’ve feared that this might be a sign of immaturity, but I really do feel that who I am and how I write ebbs and flows.  I will admit there is a predominant voice to most of my personal essay writing, but I don’t think that is my only voice.

If I am to present the most accurate portrayal of myself, how can I limit my voice?