By Hollywood Connect
Facing the blank page. It’s that terrifying time in which you sit down to create, and the bare paper lies there before you, staring back, daring you to make that first stroke. The fear, of course, is that the first stroke will not only fail to be a masterful one, but that it just might ruin the page altogether. Different types of artists struggle with “blank page syndrome,” but all artists have their own version of it. Writers, painters, and composers encounter it quite literally, but even if you’re not one of those, we're willing to bet that you also have had to deal with it in your own way.
If you find yourself in that place of creativity, here are a few tips for tackling the blank page:
1. Make it easier for yourself by remembering that you aren’t the only one who has had to sit there, waiting for inspiration. The mere fact that everybody has to deal with this struggle is encouraging in its own way. They made it past the blank page, and so will you. So quit being so hard on yourself.
2. Remember that the blank page is not an obstacle; it’s a playground. When you start viewing that empty space as an opportunity to play and experiment, rather than as your antagonist, you free yourself up to try new things, to experiment, to discover, and even to fail without fear. The blank page becomes a world of possibilities.
3. Try starting with an outline or a game plan before you actually sit down to start creating. This will give you a general road map to follow. Pre-planning pays off in the manner of that old truism: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But don’t get so locked into your road map that you don’t make room for creative surprises.
4. Get some exercise in before you start creating. It’s a very different approach than what your high school writing teacher tried to get you to do – to sit still and just write. Physical exercise gets the blood flowing, and that’s been shown to increase mental function and creativity. Take a walk or hit the gym or even stretch for a few minutes.
5. Just do something. Sometimes you have to simply dive in and create, knowing that the creative process is (and really should be) messy, which means that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Of course, that means you can’t start with an attitude of self-editing or self-criticism. Just create, and later you can go back and clean up, edit, or even erase at your leisure.
We're sure you can think of a few other ideas for approaching the blank canvas of creativity – whether you are a writer, a composer, an actor, or any other type of artist. If so, share your ideas below.
© 2010. All rights reserved.