Saturday, August 20, 2011

A blank page

A blank page is a life-sucking force.
When I sit in front of a blank screen on a computer, I often feel it's gravitational pull trying to draw me in and fill the white page with rows and rows of Times New Roman.

I try not to think of this statement as a harsh reality. It's just a reality.

Lately, it feels like a daunting task. I'll wake up early before work, hastily get ready and dressed and head out for some hot morning coffee. By the time I've gotten my tumbler filled and new browser window opened, I realize that I've got nothing to share. Nothing comes to mind. I may have had some ideas bouncing in my head but nothing comes out.

So I'll pack up my laptop and grab a refill to get me through the monotony of my work day. After that, I'll leave work and head straight to the cafe again for an afternoon iced coffee. Similar routine: order drink, sit down, open laptop, click on a new post and stare at the empty page of white.

It's not quite a case of writer's block. Writer's block is that scenario where you've got so much to say but just can't seem to say it quite right. For me, it means writing and rewriting an opening about a dozen times, combating each keystroke by hitting backspace and highlighting entire sections for deletion.

But this is different. This isn't writer's block. It's just plain lack of inspiration.

A blank page is a life-sucking force.

It's intended to draw out whatever is going on inside and when there's not a whole lot going on, it's unbearably frustrating.

It's how I've felt the better part of this week. So I've backed off the last few days. I've eased up on the pressure to write and instead took time this week to enjoy life and friends and reading and coffee. I checked out an acoustic open mic night at a local theater. I went out for some late-night IHOP twice this week. I finished the fourth season of The West Wing. I got a pedicure. I played my guitar and attempted to sing. I finished an entire crossword puzzle - in pen.

And for an entire day yesterday, I managed to avoid getting online in any form or fashion. I wasn't focused on how many Likes my status was getting or what was trending on Twitter. I held off on writing anything on Follow Eric.
But I can't wait to get back to it. I'll get back to regular posting and tracking my declining blog stats. I want to jump back in to the conversations and community happening on Facebook and the minute-by-minute Twitter tracking. But I'll take a little more caution to remember to keep living in the offline world, too.

Why? Because a blank page is a life-sucking force.

And that can be a great thing when you've got more life to give. It's great when the inspiration comes easier because you've spent enough time away from that blank page. The same goes for taking a break from the things that demand so much of ourselves over time that they leave you unable to give. We can't always take a break from things like family, friends, work or ministry but sometimes we need a break just long enough to gain a little perspective and get our strength back.

So here's to getting away from the blank page, at least for a little while.

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What are some ways you get away from the blank page? What inspires you?

*Also check out the last post: A stack of journals

1 comment:

ibmelodious said...

The problem I have with forced consistency is that I will end up writing mindless drivel to fill the void of white in front of me. So, I choose not to focus on how many "followers" I'm gaining or losing, or letting people down, and I only write when I've got something to say. Like you, I have found that you've got to get "out there" and do some things in order to have anything to be inspired about.