Alright, for this one you’re going to need a visual aid. I’d like you to get out a blank piece of paper, lined/unlined doesn’t matter, as long as there’s zero writing on it. (Those of you who are paperless, first off congratulations, I want you to open a Word document, and leave it blank for this.)
Now for a minute, two, five, ten, I want you to stare at the blank piece of paper. Try to keep your solely on the paper. Breathe slow, don’t worry about what you might write, or what else you could be doing.
I’ve heard some writers, those going through a block, and some beginning writers say they find an empty page intimidating, a challenge, even frightening. If I tilt my head and squint, I can see they’re point, but that’s never been my experience.
I’ve only ever seen a blank page as beautiful, like a snow-covered landscape, inviting, serene. Far from intimidating or frightening, I’ve always seen a blank sheet of paper as a friend. It won’t comment on your appearance, or how much money you make, or criticize you for what you’re doing with your time. Instead, all it does is listen. It is, in fact, the quietest echo chamber in the world, only giving back what you put into it.
When there’s an empty sheet of paper in front of me, I get excited about what it could become. The words on it could make it a romantic-comedy, or a science-fiction romp, or a science-fiction-romantic-comedy, or it could be an accomplice in a murder mystery. Your friend, this piece of paper, will accept any of these or all of them, and it won’t even correct your grammar.
I have many sheets of paper with Hello as the first thing written on them. Sometimes it’s a statement, sometimes it’s a question, and sometimes, rarely, it’s an exclamation. If this doesn’t immediately start the creative juices flowing, I’ll follow up with a, How are you? I find this strangely comforting, and if nothing else gets me writing.
So, take out a friend and sit with them for a while, and then tell them a story.
Until next time: Write yourself, write well. Be yourself, be well.