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A Blank Page by Mary Egan Campbell

Writing.ie | Member Blog

Empty Playground Blank Page

Mary Egan Campbell

There is nothing worse than sitting cramped in one spot for hours on end, staring at a blank page. It is the curse and dread of all writers at some point in their career. Nothing to write and nothing to say. But is that entirely true? If we are honest with ourselves we may come to realise that a blank page is a page we are sometimes reluctant to write on. We have the words rattling around in our heads somewhere but our internal editor has got cold feet. We have given this job to our internalised voice which sometimes is afraid to speak up.

Perhaps we focus too much on commercial appeal and what is currently in vogue. Popularity is what we all crave. But is the popular voice unique? No. What makes us writers is that we have something different to say. So why then do we need the popularity vote? We start out with a great idea and great intentions and then somewhere along the line there is a chink in the armour and we falter. Our words suddenly don’t seem so great or don’t meet the expectations of others. But guess what?

That was never our original goal. We don’t want to get lost in a sea of sameness after all. That only leads down one path. No one will find our needle in a haystack. We need to remind ourselves of this every day. A writer is an artist who wants to paint a picture of what’s inside his or her head. Someone itching to tell the world something new. So just do it! Sack the internal editor and splash some words on that blank canvas until it’s full and vibrant and calling out to be read. Write your book or your piece and then edit it when you have finished. Once you have filled the pages it is so much easier to be kind to yourself. Edit with a sense of achievement under your belt. Remember it’s very difficult to edit a blank page!

I too struggle with rejection of manuscripts and poetry but it is an ongoing battle I am not afraid to wade into. To keep me focused I write social commentary and share it with the public, to keep my inner voice alive and heard so that I am less fearful when I return to a half finished manuscript or poetry collection, and I do so with renewed vigour.

A blank page is like an empty playground. It needs to be filled! A writer is never a blank page so speak up!


Two days left
Children giddy with anticipation
For long summer days and fun
Little heads filled with plans and hopes and dreams
‘til someone shouts “RUN!

Two days left
To try to teach the little ones
To get them to behave, their lessons done
But all they want to do is play
‘til someone shouts “RUN!

Two days left
Before school’s out for summer
To plan day care, and play dates in the sun
To wish they wouldn’t grow up so fast
Then someone shouts “RUN!

Two days left
Of innocence and freedom
But then suddenly they’re gone!
Little broken bodies bloodied on the ground
They were too small to run
To outrun a gun

Two days left
But yet nothing’s going to change
A nation indoctrinated to bear guns
Blind to the danger to their children
They teach them to run
To carry a gun!

Two days left
…and then there were none!

(c) Mary Egan Campbell 2022


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