Facing the Blank Page, With Improvisation
What do you do when you have a blogging deadline and haven’t even picked a topic?
Stan Stewart has a lovely piece on exactly this moment, writing about having nothing to say. What I love about Stan’s piece is that he demonstrates that by writing about having nothing to say, one discovers that one has written.
By working despite his lack of inspiration when he wrote his piece, I have no doubt Stan kept up his writing momentum and had more to say the next time he sat down to write. Why do I have no doubts? Because creativity is like that.
By staying is his moment of non-inspiration, Stan gave himself a gift.
- He did a little research: scanning other people’s suggestions of topics for blog posts. Although nothing “grabbed him” at that moment, he was filling his well of ideas from which to draw next time.
- He reviewed his motivation to write. Reconnecting with the why of his writing will have stimulated unconscious processes that would eventually produce inspiration.
- He reviewed the themes and topics of his blog. This will have prompted his subconscious to mull on these topics, possibly building connections between them. Once again, Stan was adding grist to the mill for future work.
- He noticed his present circumstances. Paying attention to the world within and around us is at the heart of having something to say. Instead of running from the state of not-knowing, we can examine our experience, which then gives us something to reflect on, and that reflection will likely lead to having something to say.
- Finally, Stan demonstrated his power to choose how to respond to his experience. So often, when our muse is hiding, we think we are powerless to find her, but it is not true. We can tickle her, drawing her to the realm of consciousness by offering her tempting tidbits, images to look at, food for thought, and questions to ponder.
Stan is an improvisational artist. He specializes in creating something from nothing in front of an audience without revision. His article shows us a way to approach writing when we feel no inspiration but the audience is waiting.