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The challenge of the empty page


ALL you writers out there know the feeling. The challenge of the blank page. The knowledge that it's up to you to fill it, preferably with something original and, above all, readable.

Like most journalists of my generation, I faced the challenge every day for half a century or thereabouts, belting out prose under the ever-present threat of deadlines, formulating thoughts under pressure, and hoping against hope that one's failings would not find their way into print.

I was pondering all this the other day, when I decided to tackle, once again, the subject of a writer's desk, with all its paraphernalia. I've done it before, in different ways, with varying degrees of success. This one, I feel, holds its own in modest company, an atmospheric piece with the accent on the typewriter and its demanding empty page.

It's called Chapter One - a reminder, incidentally, that I have a book to write this year, and five months of 2019 have already gone. I must summon up the energy - and courage - to start hitting those keys, even if only to see whether I can still write intelligible prose.


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