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.

Stan is also a fellow InterPlayer, and my last two points about noticing and choosing how to respond are highly influenced by my training as an InterPlay leader.


About Kate Arms-Roberts


Posted on March 22, 2012, in Blogging, Creativity, Interplay, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I remember Stan’s post, and can imagine it’s speaking to you right now. I’m thinking about what you wrote yesterday (I think, anyway, your daily posting has me a bit dizzy) about your reflecting on daily blogging and on a commitment you were looking to make in April. I’ll be curious how this plays out for you.

  2. Kate,

    First, I’m so flattered that I’m tongue-tied. And we already know that I don’t always have words. 😉 Now, add to my awe-struck response that a “real writer” wrote about one of my posts and the first comment is by (Patrick Ross) a real writer’s writer and … well, I really have no words.

    Second, reading your blog is a truly embodied feast unto itself. What I mean is that, even if it weren’t about my post on the surface, it has so much that stands alone. What I read is the outpouring of an artist who understands the realm of creativity and knows to seek it out. Or, as you so profoundly said of our muse, “we think we are powerless to find her, but it is not true”. Whether with a “tickle” or by hunting down creativity, it is always available to us.

    Thank you, Kate. I’m deeply honored.

    Playful blessings,
    Stan (aka @muz4now)

    P.S. I remember the April commitment, as well, Patrick and Kate…

    • Kate Arms-Roberts

      You do yourself a disservice, Stan. You have a way with words, yourself.

      Plus, you play real music (I know, I have a CD and I listen to it), and improvisationally, too. Wow! I have practised many instruments over the years, but never played decently. And, when I improvise singing, unless I am in the cradle of affection like an InterPlay class, my ability to have anybody other than myself willing to listen is non-existent. Your set of skills bowls me over.

      So, there. ;P

      Seriously, don’t sell yourself short.

  3. Kate,
    I’ve been impressed this whole month with how well you’ve taken on this challenge of publishing a blog post everyday. And while you could get away with just posting tiny blurb just to get your post in for the day, you haven’t so far. So far, every single thing you’ve posted has been interesting and well thought out. Great job!

  1. Pingback: muse schmooze: moving into vulnerability

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