The Blank Page
If writing my blog over the past three years has taught me anything, it's that every blank page represents an opportunity.
It can be an opportunity to persuade, amuse, educate, and inspire... sometimes all at once.
Every great book, screenplay, cover letter, love letter, essay, presentation, thesis... everything you've ever read began as a blank page taunting its creator, daring them to begin.
That's part of what makes blank pages so terrifying.
With every blank page, you need to figure out where to begin.
You might have a good idea of what you want to accomplish, but you might not know how to do it, and you certainly don't know how things are going to turn out. That's a good recipe for procrastination: mix two cups of ignorance with two cups of uncertainty and stir.
Sure, you don't know how things are going to turn out even when you're finished, either, but once you're done, the anxiety of beginning is at least balanced with the relief of having finished something, even if what you did doesn't turn out the way you thought it would.
That's the other part of what makes blank pages so terrifying: the fear of failure.
Most of us dread failure. And you can't fail at something if you don't begin.
Which is why so many of us leave our pages blank.
Not everybody writes, of course, but it's a useful metaphor.
We all start with our own blank pages every day.
Have the courage to fill them with something you'll be proud to share with the world.
I'm writing this as I sit at Starbucks on my 45th birthday, sipping on a ridiculously indulgent Quad Venti Non-Fat Caramel Brule Latte. (Judge me if you must.)
I'm thinking back on the first part of my existence and recognizing that statistically speaking, I've lived more of my life than I have left. (Especially if I keep drinking those indulgent lattes.) And I'm wondering about what I can do to make the most of the pages I have left to write. But that's a post for another day.
For today, here's my birthday wish: get started on something you've thought about doing.
If you've dreamt of publishing a book, write your first paragraph.
If you've always wanted to learn a new language, download Duolingo and complete your first lesson.
If you've been putting off making an important phone call, pick up the phone and dial.
Whatever it is... start. Today. Now.
The page tends to fill up quickly once you've written your first few sentences.