Do you ever look at a blank piece of paper with wonderment? Do you see endless possibilities? Does anticipation fill your heart and mind at the prospect of filling a blank page?
It seems there’s a diverse range of responses when it comes to a blank page. Some fear and avoid it. Others jump at the chance to fill it; they answer yes to my first three questions without hesitation. Even if they don’t have an idea, they will come up with one and set to work. On the flip side, others are quick to say “no thanks” or “not interested” without a second thought. Some might ask, “What am I supposed to do with this?” Then there’s the, “I’m not able, so why try” group.
The question then becomes why. But, before the why, we should address what. What does the blank paper signify? It could be a challenge, or better yet, an opportunity. For some of you, the opportunity will be journaling, blogging, writing a story or a novel. Others of you look forward to drawing or painting. If these options don’t suit your fancy, no worries, the possibilities are endless. Map out your next quilt design or write down your latest recipe. You could be into designing websites or developing floor plans for a new house. Come up with a fresh landscape design. Some of you will fill the page with music. Add your creative outlet here: __________. The goal is not to avoid the emptiness of the page but to come up with a creative way to fill it. To be active. Productive. Successful. I’ve known those who are so afraid of making a mistake that they won’t do anything creative. Mistakes are not a failure. Quitting is a failure. Never starting could also be considered a failure. Don’t miss out on a lifetime of pleasure because the blank page intimidates you.
The why is also very important. If you don’t have a purpose or an end product in mind, it’s very hard to get started. If you’re writing, what is your goal? Is it to motivate? To make people laugh? To tell a story? Will it be fictional or historical? Who will be the hero or the villain? What will be the moral of your story? Once these questions are answered, it’s much easier to start filling pages. I find filling the first page the hardest, but once I have a plan and start writing, it grows quickly.
The same is true for any creative outlet. Once you have a specific purpose or goal, you’ll be more determined to fill your page(s). This is important because talent alone is not enough. It takes effort and hard work to stick with it when things become difficult or don’t go as planned.
Even those with “natural ability” must work at filling their blank pages. But that’s what makes the result precious and worth the effort. What’s the expression? If it were easy, everyone would do it.
Learn to give yourself some grace. Even if your early attempts fail or don’t turn out as great as you imagined, you took the risk to stretch yourself and hone your skills. This automatically gives you a better chance to succeed in your next attempt.
Don’t be afraid to start small. Just one blank page. When it is full, start another. Then another. And another. Eventually, the blank page will no longer be intimidating but an exciting opportunity to flourish.
Arleen Jennings is the Author of:
Their lives we all but destroyed . . .
Her paintings are about to change everything.
Mystery and Adventure with a Touch of Romance.