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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

The potential of the blank screen #amwriting #writerslife

I always feel as though the story is already out there, waiting for me to discover it

I’ve now written four books, which makes me sound like an old pro, yet I certainly don’t consider myself that. Each book has, I have found, its own personality, and its own difficulties and idiosyncrasies. Some were agonising to write, with each sentence painfully ripped from my soul; others skipped from me gleefully onto my computer screen, with only the occasional sticking point. With each one, I’ve found starting terrifying. The blank, empty screen stares at me, taunting, and making me wonder how I will ever manage to fill it.

On Friday, I sent my fourth book off to my editor and agent. I was exhausted, and very much looking forward to an entire weekend off – something I haven’t had in a long time. The very last thing I wanted to do was write. So imagine my surprise when I woke on Saturday morning and started my next novel! No blank screen agonising for me.

I’m so excited to be back at my desk again. No matter how difficult the process is, I always feel as though the story is already out there, somehow, waiting for me to discover it, and help it to reveal itself. Sometimes, as I’ve said, it’s hard. But there are also wonderful moments where, when I get further into the novel, something seemingly innocuous I wrote earlier suddenly links to something I am writing now, bits of story falling into place and slotting together in a way I hadn’t planned, serendipitously, which makes me think: “Oh, that’s why I put that before! I hadn’t realised!” The story is showing itself to me, bit by bit.

I absolutely love these Michelangelo quotes, and always have them in the back of my mind as I’m writing. I know just how he felt. Now, it’s time for me to pick up my tools and reveal the angel of my story.

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