Few things are as intimidating as a blank page. It’s a truism that, well, holds true, still. At least for me. I worked out, some-when, that fixing this is mostly about momentum. My ancient, rickety high school knowledge of physics and the difficulty of starting anything has helped me reach this realisation.
But once started, sometimes that momentum builds too fast, and things feel out of control. I have my Sketch Book Project two pages away from completion and there’s now too much I want to put in it and yet, too much blank space. Nature and sketch books abhor a vacuum. I don’t know whether to make it all fit or leave some bits blank, or wait for the next book. If I do wait, it’s a return to the difficulty of building momentum to start again. Because it is a book of blank pages.
Of course, looking at these last pages (in the middle because working front to back is no), I see they aren’t blank at all. They have weathered and been marked by the pages around them. Ink stains have come through from the other side, and glue has given it shapes and light and shade. My pages aren’t blank, they’re already used. They’ve prepared a way forward. Pressure’s off, a bit and I have a few more days to decide what to do.
Meanwhile, with my long-suffering NaNoWriMo novel, it’s out of control in different wild ways. It’s ivy, climbing everywhere, getting bound up in itself, exploring crevices it shouldn’t, holding no shape, except what it clings to at that exact point. I don’t know whether to let it go roaming further, or cut it back and see what structural damage lies beneath as a result of its organic spread. And still it must grow and find its natural end. The blank areas remain though, through the leaves of its pages, and are the missing bits that could make this tangled mess a singular entity, a proper novel, rather than an assemblage, or bits of things stuck together for art’s sake.