Is there anything as intimidating as a blank page?
When you’re young, a blank page is something to be filled. And blank pages can be found in the unlikeliest of places; your own skin, the clean shirt your mum dressed you in that morning, and on one occasion, the wall going up the stairs.
But you get older, and the bollockings maybe sink in, and you refine your medium. If I’d have picked any of the others, I’d have been a tattooist, fashion designer, or interior decorator maybe. But I went with a literal blank page, and now I sit here on a computer, a virtual literal blank page in front of me, and I have to start filling it.
At this point, I’ve been saying I’m going to be a writer for years. Actually done a fair bit of writing (a novel and 3/4 of the sequel, 2 complete (but unfinished) screenplays, several shorts, three tv episodes, two pantomimes, short stories, blog posts, and thousands of Facebook statuses (those count, right?). But it’s all been dabbling. There’s always been an excuse. I’m too busy at work, I’m enjoying a new relationship, I’m sad because the relationship didn’t work out, my laptop got stolen, I’m just not feeling it, I’m sailing round the world.
That last one has been a pretty decent excuse, to tell the truth. That and the laptop getting stolen are really the only reasons that are valid. The laptop, because, well, nothing to write on, and the sailing, it does tend to get in the way of sitting down and putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard. And that’s not to say I haven’t been writing while experiencing the wet bits of the world. I’ve written more than eighteen thousand words for the team blog since leaving London last August. It just hasn’t been mine, not really. It’s been a brilliant exercise in discipline, subtlety, and self restraint, but hasn’t necessarily been what I would have written for this site. Not being allowed to use the words ‘shit’ or ‘twat’ definitely limits my vocabulary, and also cuts down on the number of words I could have written by a couple of thousand.
But the race is over; I’ve sailed round the world, forty five thousand miles plus under the keel, and I have my laptop. So while it might take a little while to adjust to being back on land and a somewhat functioning member of society again, and while I’ll actually be starting a job before the end of the month (instead of taking time off to only write, as was the original plan), no more excuses. A blog (of my own) a week, a bit of spit and polish on the completed (but unfinished) screenplays, and come next year, when the tour is done I’ll be comfortably in the swing of this whole writing malarkey that I’ll be able to seamlessly transition into being an unemployed twat with a laptop.
And use it to maybe write shit that people might find worth reading.