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Use italics for a less intimidating blank page

Like many writers, I get intimidated by a blank page. There’s so much pressure to fill it with nothing less than perfect prose. The pressure often freezes me solid or keeps me away from the page completely.

But I’ve discovered a way to write on a page with less pressure to be perfect.

Before I write my actual text (say in a scene in Dabble), I write really rough text at the top of the scene. This text is more like brainstorming, jotting notes and/or writing a really rough draft. Then later I will right the “real” text after this initial text. And when I write this text, I set the text in italics. I’ve taught myself that any text that is in italic is not the “real” text, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. And with this lack of pressure to be perfect, my writing flows a lot more freely.

I also abandon differentiating between descriptive text and dialogue (which means no quotes.) Nor do I signify who is saying what. I know my story well enough to know who is saying what.

When I got to write the “real” text, I may copy the italic text, paste the copied text underneath the original italic text, deitalicize the new text then edit and add punctuation. Or my writing the text in italics got so much of the story out of me out that I can write “real” text under the italic text from scratch with minimal referring to or copy and pasting from the italic text.

I guess this is like writing one’s first draft longhand on paper, then typing the first revision into the computer. The benefit here is that I use less paper and spend more time in Dabble. (Yay!)


I like this idea!

1 Like

I copy what is supposed to happen in a scene from the plot grid and paste it into the scene then I write the scene above it, canabalizing the scene notes as I go, until the notes are gone and the scene is finished. I sometimes get lost between the two, your suggestion is a good way to differentiate. I will try it.