Blank Page Fears
I am re-reading a wonderful book, The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp, a dancer and a choreographer. The book aims to help artists of any kind take control of their routine (so that within their writing hours, they can surrender to their art even more effectively). In the very first chapter Ms. Tharp talks about facing down fears. Here is an example of a common fear she gives, then destroys with a simple argument:
The fear: “I am not sure how to do it”
Twyla Tharp’s reply: ”A problem, obviously, but we’re not talking about constructing the Brooklyn Bridge. If you try it and it doesn’t work you’ll try a different way next time. Doing is better than not doing, and if you do something badly you’ll learn to do it better.”
So obvious, but how many of us need that gentle reminder?
So now, my turn. On to my own fears. Currently, I have a very short list (which is a great improvement!). I present it to you, below, along with my own rebuttals.
When facing the blank page, I am afraid that:
1. It won’t come out well
It might not. But at least what does come out will clue me in to where a problem might lie. At least it’ll get me thinking. It’s like playing a song on the piano, when suddenly a note sounds false. So I go back to that spot. So I play around. What’s so terrible about that?
2. My advisor won’t like it
Then she’ll tell me so . Also, she’ll tell me why. Likely, she’ll toss in a brilliant suggestion for another fun writing exercise. (I have recently fallen in LOVE with writing exercises).
3. I’ll never get published
This piece might not get published. But the next one might. Or the one after that…Or the one after that…
What monsters lurk invisible behind your blank pages? And how would you argue with your fears?
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing, consider answering these questions for yourself!
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