All those what-ifs scream out our previous failures - ink-blotted scribbles, deficient daubs, lackadaisical prose and inability to colour well within the lines of art.
It must be overcome, of course, or we would never start our potential masterpiece, beguiling blog post, pretty poetry, or just our everyday ordinary showing up to offer a faithful labour of love at the altar of creativity.
All art begins with a mark. all creativity invites us to start with something. So where to begin to leave our mark when a mind feels bereft of thought? It's a dilemma whether we're staring at a blank screen or pristine page. Fear of making a mess can stop us in our tracks, because who wants to screw up before we've barely begun? Not me, probably not you, either.
I'm sharing what helped me after I took a prolonged break and feared I might never write another word. I began with recognising the limiters on leaving a mark. Mine were: fatigue, false expectations, life circumstances, poor self-esteem, people-approval issues, loss of confidence. Maybe some of those resonate with you?
Once we start to transfer words to a page, make a list or frame an image in our head, then we begin to stir those latent creative juices again. What begins as an act of faith becomes a work in progress.
Here are 20 ways to help you beat the blank page
- Pray, pray and pray again - be inspired by God first and foremost
- Write morning/evening pages, or whenever you get uninterrupted time
- Use a journal/diary/sketch pad/doodling or crayoning book
- Have all necessary materials to hand - including coffee/chocolate/cake
- Jot random ideas in a notepad whenever a creative thought occurs
- Use prompts from books/films/blogs/all creative resources
- Do a brain-dump/plan in advance for important projects
- Switch off distractions as far as possible - especially social media
- Make your environment conducive to creativity
- Use aids to concentration - music/silence/rest/imagery/black coffee
- Avoid making comparisons altogether - you and your art are unique
- Stay true to the gifting you have while being willing to experiment
- Be prepared to be stretched outside your comfort zone
- Take a break - go outside/breathe/stretch/have a walk/nap/read/watch TV
- Attempt a new genre/style/method to jar inspiration back to life
- Use disengaged moments as unpressurised free-thinking time
- Read lots of books - be inspired by them and fellow creatives
- Seek individual mentoring or group support - there's strength in numbers
- Establish daily rhythms and routine but don't worry if it's a dry season
- Be prepared for low spells and high productivity to be part of a creative life
Thankfully, no matter how today may have turned out, God continually offers us a blank page fresh start, an opportunity to begin again by His grace. And maybe the best way to view our own blank pages and days is as openings and invitations rather than dead ends.
Sometimes we just have to trust art and words will flow when they're ready to come, and continue nurturing our souls while we wait. Happy writing and creating, friends!