An empty page is quite intimidating. It is daunting to look at empty, blank, white page whether it be a word document on the screen computer or a piece of actual paper on one’s desk. To paraphrase Fredrich Nietzsche: ‘when you gaze long into an empty page, the empty page will gaze back into you.’ For a couple of days now, I have been staring into a blank empty page and although it is Static, it has a life ad will of it’s own. The empty page can reciprocate the gaze and it does look down at me.
A professional writer I am not and perhaps I will never be. I do not possess the necessary talent, creativity, and discipline to become a published author or to earn a living from the craft of writing. Although writer I am not, writing I love nonetheless. There is nothing more gratifying, at least for me personally, to strike an empty page with words of my own expressing my thoughts however incoherent these thoughts might be.
That said, one could only imagine the power that a blank paper could hold to those who cannot not write, for professionals and otherwise alike. It is frustrating as it is heart breaking sometimes and the more one forces the words into the paper, the more the words seem to elude and evade.
I write a few words that form a sentence or two only to hit the delete button again as soon as I have read them. That process repeats over and over again sometimes for the whole day. There are even times that this cycle will go on for days. I refer to that as the days of darkness. Should I live in an age before the digital age and use a typewriter instead of a computer, my room is already littered with balled papers and I am buried in it as I am buried in frustration.
One must realize, however, that being in the dark is as crucial as being in the light. The struggle for ideas and the search for words to express them as accurate as we could appear to be a prerequisite stage that one has to endure which brings them to that joyful moments when the writing is writing itself.
Writing, however elusive words might be at times, is thinking. We think as we write and we write as we think. Ideas do not always precedes the writing. They emerge and take form as we write them.
It is when we are struggling with words that we converse with our inner selves. As we converse with our inner selves, ideas gradually gain clarity and form. If we persevere and fully commit ourselves to the whole process, the writing will eventually take over. The writing and what is being written will get the life of its own. Words will flow out and we will not have the control over it nor the right to question their providence. The writing then happens not because of us, but despite of us. These moments make the darkest days in which we are confronted by that daunting empty page becomes worth enduring.
Writing and musing about the empty page when confronted by the empty page is a manifestation of how I have come to learn how to appreciate the empty page. Though frustrating as it is, I do not resist the empty page. The empty page is more than welcome. The pain it inflicts must be embraced and not avoided. As Nietzsche has thought us, it is when we rise above to the challenges we set upon ourselves is the time when we become the best version of ourselves.