Fear of the Blank Page: How I’m Trying to Get Back into Writing More and Punch my Fear in the Gut

For the past few months, I have been avoiding blank pages. I’ve been reading and studying and watching Doctor Who and cleaning my fish’s tank and working, but not looking at the blank pages in my creative writing notebook or empty Word documents.

But here we are. I’ve pulled up an empty Word document and written some words on it to share with you. Honestly, though, it hasn’t been easy to get here.

The amount of writing I do on the daily has drastically decreased throughout my college years to the point where I barely ever write unless it’s for a blog post, Instagram caption, or essay. Part of this is due to mental health issues, but a lot of it has just been that I’ve become afraid of blank pages.

I never used to have this problem. In fact, I loved blank pages! They have so much potential, and I can fill them up with anything I please. I can turn a blank page into a poem or a character or an entire world. I can make someone feel sunlight coming through the blinds or the softness of a puppy’s fur. The possibilities are infinite. And I used to love that.

But now I’m afraid. I’m afraid of writing something shitty or problematic or starting another story I can’t finish. I’m afraid of the possibilities, because of what if I choose the wrong one? What if someone wants to read it and I can’t share it because it’s bad?

You know what I need to say to myself? So what.

So what if it’s bad? So what if I keep it to myself forever? So what if I choose the wrong direction? I can edit and make it better. I can write for my own pleasure. I can change directions in a story any time I please. I’m a writer. And without writing, I feel a little lost.

My goal for myself in the future is to write more. I want to write a little bit every day, even if it’s just journaling. I have already started journaling daily again. Sometimes I write a few pages and sometimes it’s a few words, but I’m still writing every day. Hopefully, this will push me to write more for fun. In the same vein, I am going to start writing in notebooks again. I used to write so much more when I wrote stories by hand, because screens distract me and give me headaches. I find it harder to focus when looking at a screen. It’s why I prefer physical books versus e-books. I need to apply this logic to my writing, too. Writing by hand is slower, and I have to eventually transfer it to a screen, but I want to start on paper.

Now, writing more will probably mean that I read less, but I have to tell myself that it’s okay. My goal isn’t to read a ton. It’s to write more and be more selective about what I’m reading. I may actually have to not finish more books in the future. Yikes! That makes me anxious just writing it, but I’m sure I can give myself permission to do it every once in a while.

If there’s anything I’ve learned before starting this blog post, it’s that I just need to write. I just need to do it. I can’t only think about it or be hard on myself for not doing it. I can’t give into the fear. I have to give myself over to the possibilities and just write.

This little update is just to say that I hope to be writing more in the future, which hopefully means going back to posting twice a month on this blog like I was doing before.

I also want to add that I’m not setting any 2020 goals for myself. My goals are not going to be limited to one year. I want to write more indefinitely. I want to get better at cooking healthy meals in general. Plus more that I’m keeping to myself. I think 2020 will be a good year, but I want to start the year off without burdening myself with too many things. I’ve started working on some of my goals already, in December, instead of waiting for January, and I’m glad I’m making progress in the present instead of always looking to the future.

I hope everyone’s December is going well, that your holidays are great, and that you are setting goals for yourself that will make you happier.

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