Does a Blank Page Unnerve You?

Interesting question, isn’t it? The answer may depend on a few different factors, one being whether or not you’ve been given instructions as to what you are to do with this blank page.

As a writer, I often stare at blank pages or a blank screen in my word processor. I know that I am to create something on the page. I often have messy pages of scribbled notes from which to draw inspiration and fashion this creation, but somehow, I must begin. And after I begin, I must press on and finish, polishing the final product. I must CREATE.

I’m slowly working through a writer’s workbook called “Making Manifest” by Dave Harrity. I read lesson seven today. In it he says some profound things about the blank page or “white space.”

“…white space is always another beginning. And if we’re facing a beginning, the rubble of an ending isn’t far behind. The tension of the unknown is just in front of us. We become unsettled when spaces aren’t filled for us.

Openings mean we must move into something unknown, that we must find a way forward, that we must pick up our mats and walk, that we must create something from thin air. And none of those things are ever easy”

That is actually at the end of the lesson, but nearer the beginning he talks about creating, taking that white space and turning it into something brand new, something never thought of before, unique, like God did with the nothingness that surrounded him. We are made in His image. We are made to create something out of nothing. How did God create? He created with words. We too can create with words.

Dave Harrity says it like this: “Yes, daily time reading Scripture and praying act as guards against the noise and chaos of the world, but is it possible that there’s little room for creation? Where do we take that noise and chaos and make something of it?

Writing is an active, but not busy, action — not busyness that impedes the contemplative or prayerful. It’s a slowing way. And by that slowness, we invite God’s presence into our walk.”

Have you thought of creative writing as a spiritual practice, a means of moving in union with the Divine, the Creator? Do you ‘create’ with your words or do you only see your words as a means of explaining, of answering questions, bringing stability rather than adding to the mystery of life?

What will you do with the blank page set before you (whether it is a literal page or just the next page in your life)? Are you willing to begin writing on the page without any understanding of how the story will end?

Creativity in writing and all its aspects is exploratory. It involves making mistakes, scratching out lines and starting again. It means learning as you go, and especially, learning more about yourself in the process.

Begin the process. Create something new, on the page, in yourself.


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