When faced with a blank piece of paper, a blank canvas, a blank sheet of manuscript paper or, most likely in the twenty-first century, a blank space with a cursor flashing expectantly at the left hand side of the screen, the prospect of all the emptiness to be filled is – to me, at least – frightening. I said this to a friend recently who suggested that I should, instead, see it as an opportunity.
I can understand that it is the opportunity to write, draw or compose and the possibilities are therefore endless – and for that we should be pleased – but the question of what to write, draw or compose worries me. Choosing words to fill in blanks, or colouring in a paint-by-numbers or reharmonising a tune all appeal to me as there is a structure in which to work or at least to provide a starting point for my own attempts.
But, when faced with a blank page, I panic.
I admire the discipline of columnists and diarists who have to write a certain number of words each week for publication and this has spurred me to decide to endeavour to write a regular blog post of a fixed length. A ‘blog post’ is a somewhat nebulous term as blogs can – and often do – contain many things, but in the age of the internet it is one which we must use. In using the term I want to see it as an electronic equivalent of a diary or a column which thereby satisfies the part of Wikipedia’s definition of a blog post which includes writing commentaries or descriptions of events.
Having decided I wanted to blog (on the internet word classes seem to be interchangeable) I tried to decide what I should focus on as a subject. I have previously never successfully kept a diary – or blog – or done any regular writing on any topic; however, I realised that I do enjoy using my status updates on Facebook and the ability to post links to newspaper articles as a form of ‘micro-’ (or even ‘nano-’) blogging’. Having been doing this for some three years now, and regularly receiving comments and ‘Likes’ in the process, I feel that the wide range of topics on which I ‘microblog’ are all legitimate topics to include.
It is therefore my intention to write about things I know about and understand: this means that I would hope to write about English (both the language and literature), technology, cathedral music, and food and drink at a bare minimum. However, I do not want to prevent myself from writing about those things which I appreciate and attempt to fathom such as science, or fine art amongst many others. In order to make the whole endeavour manageable both in terms of writing and reading, I have imposed upon myself a limit of 500 carefully selected and judiciously edited words.
And with that, my screen is no longer blank and I look forward to the opportunity to try writing.