On Writing: The Blank Page
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“What’s the best way to approach the dreaded blank page?”
“Approach it Playfully.
When you look at the Blank Page, see Possibility.
‘There’s no map’, one might lament.
Explore. Draw your own map. See it as an adventure, a playful journey of discovery.
Turn the Blank Page into a beautiful opportunity to Connect with your Inner Child.
Approach it Mindfully.
See the Process as Meditation.
See the Beauty of the Process, and open your Heart in Gratitude.
Approach it Strategically.
Choose something as your Focus.
It can be anything.
It can be the title of your piece, it can be a random quote or word or image. Once you’ve given your mind something to lock on, it will inevitably start doing what it does best: make Connections.
I like to do it mind-mapping style.
Write your Focus in the middle of the Blank Page, and expand in all directions.
The first phase is the generative phase. The guide here is quantity. Let your mind wander freely, and revel in the process unfolding before your eyes. Your chosen Focus will anchor it in place, ensuring it won’t stray so far that it loses sight of the starting point. I like to do this with a pencil.
The second phase is the evaluative phase. The guide here is quality. Once you’ve grown a beautiful dense tree, it’s time to pick the fruits. I like to do this with a pen. Identity the best ideas, 80/20 style, and write over them with the pen. This ensures you can see them at a glance. Once you start writing, this will serve as your map.
This is a decision-point. You may choose to start writing, following your map, or expand the map.
This is an iterative process.
If you choose to keep going, pick any of the ideas you’ve generated, turn it into a new Focus, and repeat the process.
You could liken this process to breathing.
Generation / Evaluation
Expansion / Contraction
Breathing in / Breathing out
There’s nothing to be dreaded about the Blank Page.
The Blank Page is a magical portal into the infinite expanses of your Mind and Heart.
Grow to love the Blank Page, and joyfully lose yourself in it.”