It’s All I Have


To a writer, nothing is more exhilarating than a blank page.

To a writer, nothing is more terrifying than a blank page.

It all depends. A blank page either invites or it taunts. It awakens imagination, beckons invention, stimulates creativity. Or it mirrors your own blankness, echoes and mocks your own bottomless emptiness. It applauds your genius, or accuses your mediocrity. It calls forth your best self, or jeers the failure you long suspected you were.

For writers, the blank page is a great gift, or a terrible curse. Best friend, or worst enemy.

It all depends.

I write this after staring at a blank page for an inordinately long time. Some days, just the sight of one quickens me like gunshot, and triggers in me an outpouring of ideas that almost magically shape themselves into words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, pages. On my best days, I’m like an amanuensis to myself. It’s like I’m taking notes on someone else, someone bright and eloquent. It’s that easy.

But not today. Indeed, not most days. Today is just an extreme version of most days. Today, the blank page gloats at my stuckness, and then resists almost every word I try to score it with: awkward, trite, cliché, wooden, it says. Can’t you do better than that? it asks.

Today, no, I can’t. It’s all I have.

I give it anyhow.

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6 thoughts on “It’s All I Have

  1. Love this, especially coming from one of my favorite authors whom I quote often. Thank you for being transparent about your writing journey, lest we fall into the abyss of not meeting up the expectations we’ve placed on ourselves, the delusions that no one else goes through this.

  2. Let me affirm you Mark, that you are truly a gifted writer.
    I admire you.
    For years I thought I wanted to be one. I entered a
    contest to write a novel during the month of November
    of 50000 words. To me it was pure discipline and I
    agonized over the words every day. I did it, and it cured
    me, I am not a writer. I salute you and applaud you
    for your discipline and obedience by honoring the
    Lord through the gift He has blessed you with.

  3. Writing about having nothing to write about – the ultimate irony?! I really like the idea of giving, even when you feel you have nothing worthy to be given, or even nothing at all to give.