All through childhood and even today, one of my favorite sayings is that “nothing is scarier than a blank piece of paper.” Now, I should probably add on “for a writer” at the beginning or end of it because let’s be real, there are some incredibly scary things out there (like ticks…and other bugs).
So, when it comes to a writer, or any artist, a blank page or blank canvas can be pretty scary. You can sit down to write or draw or paint etc. And, if you’re like me, you just find yourself staring at the page. If you know what you want to write or draw, great! That’s half the battle. But then you gotta figure out how are you going to start? Start with a description? Start with some facts? If you don’t know what you want to write or draw and you’re like me, you just kinda sit there staring at the page and eventually the page wins.
Same goes for journals. I know I’m not the only one who has a thousand journals and yet most of them haven’t anything written in them. One of my favorite journals is a leather bound one I got years ago. And yet, I have written nothing in it. My first thought was “oh, I’ll write a story that goes with the design on the cover!” but then I worry that the story won’t be good enough. I think I should just use it for my thoughts–it is a journal after all–but it just too pretty for my thoughts, so it sits in my desk with nothing inside because I can’t decide what’s good enough to write in it. Someday I’ll write something, we’ll just have to wait and see what pops into my head.
So, blank pages are scary and pretty journals deserve more than just basic thoughts. But my favorite part of a blank page and a blank journal is all the possibilities. They’re endless. You could write a report, a story, a memoir, a poem, gibberish, anything! Same goes for drawing. You could paint puppies, or doodle drawbridges, make maps, copy artwork or sketch star systems. It’s just a matter of what do you want to do?
Now, as endless as the possibilities are, it’s also pretty daunting. What if you mess up? What if it’s all wrong? What if you lose your train of thought or accidentally damage the paper or canvas? You want some friendly advice for when those thoughts start to creep up?
Just shut those thoughts right up because they’re only holding you back. Just start writing or drawing and if you screw up? There’s more paper. Just think of all those tv and movie scenes where someone is trying to write the right thing, but they keep crumpling up the paper and tossing it into the waste basket. The important thing is that you’re trying. Practice makes perfect after all.
So don’t let the scariness of a piece of paper stop you. Put your pencil, pen, paintbrush, or fingers on the keyboard and go! Don’t think about it until you edit. Start writing right now!