I’ve had two conversations recently with writers where they expressed trepidation about putting aside an existing draft and starting over with a blank page. It’s got me reflecting on the fact that, these days, I quite like blank-paging!
Quite a while back I posted about this, and it was interesting to see how I expressed it then. The thing that’s changed since, is that I rarely even sigh over the need to do one now, but otherwise the following is still true:
You aren’t starting from zero. The story, the characters and the setting have all been nutted out in that other version and so you don’t re-do that work. In many cases you’ll find you transpose bits of the original version into the new one, from fragments to whole slabs.
You aren’t wasting time. Because you generally only go to the blank page rewrite as a last resort, it must be to solve a serious problem. The rewrite will take a lot less time and be a lot less stressful than picking at a very difficult problem.
It’s not as depressing as you think. I know how deep the sigh of resignation can be when you decide you need it, but I’ve found time and time again that I am refreshed and re-energised by a blank page rewrite. Why? Because you can throw out the old form of a scene / chapter / short story and free yourself to tell the story another way.