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Drawing A Blank When Writing!

Updated on July 22, 2012

Blank Canvas

©2009 Dorothy W. Parker All Rights Reserved

When you have to write, why do you draw a blank? Often I sit and wonder; what is the most fascinating subject readers would love to read about and suddenly I draw a blank. So than I think, what, is a blank, is it that moment when all thoughts cease to move or when your thoughts are stuck. Perhaps it that moment when you have to think, but your brain wants to play tricks on you.

Is that the best time to write anything, when you are drawing a blank? Blanks have many purposes, its finding the right purpose for each blank you have drawn and deciding what to do with that space in time.

I began this writing because I drew a blank, and then all of a sudden the blank was filled with words about the blank I was drawing. A real writer writes regardless of the subject. Real writers right good stuff and bad stuff, they just write. However, when you want others to read what you write that is when you have to use words that will draw your reader’s attention, and often this can be the reason behind the blank. We try to think about what our readers want to read, that could be the wrong direction. Writing is an art, it is a part of YOU, people want to know what YOU think, and they look to YOU to share that with them.

If you want to draw your audience, you have to tell them what is on your mind. Often that means staying out of other people’s head. The blank you could be drawing, just might be the fact that you are trying to use telepathy. You need to find that place within yourself that is filled with ideas you want to share, and begin writing from that place. Eventually you will find the courage to share what you found in that place.

Blanks are there to help us tell our story, but you need space between your ideas, that space is the blank you draw. Use the space to recalibrate your ideas. Do not be afraid to stop and think about what you are thinking about; when you pay attention to the blank, it will fill itself. The blank I drew filled itself with this message and now I am sharing it with you.

1. What readers are you trying to draw?

2. Why do you want to draw them?

3. What do you want to convey to them from your writing?

In this writing, I want to convey the fact that I drew a blank while trying to think of something to write about, and now I am telling you about the blank I drew. Whether that is of interest to you is a horse of a different color; it is what I want to share and now you are reading it, perhaps it will help you, or not.

Have I conveyed my point, if not what would you have written about the blanks you draw when you are thinking of something to write—how about just writing about the blank. An artist puts up a blank canvas, he/she looks at it, and as he/she stares at the blank canvas, he/she envisions what he/she wants to draw on the canvas. Every artist no matter what his or her category of art will eventually draw a blank. My advice to you would be to write, draw, sing, etc… about the blank you are drawing. Perhaps it is not really a blank but just an empty canvas waiting for you to recognize it as potential art.

How often have you had an idea on your mind that you wanted to write about, and when you begin writing, it no longer seemed relevant? This happens to me more often than drawing a blank. I would rather draw a blank when writing than to have my ideas deflate while I am in the mist of writing.

I have tried so many different approaches to trying to break free from the blank, regardless of my efforts I have found the only true method for overcoming this spacious moment is to continue to write.

Whatever comes of it will either make sense or not. As a writer you are in control of your ideas at all times, you must create the words that you write.

The art of writing is in how you:

1. Choose the right words for your project

2. Arrange the words in a sentence, paragraph etc…

3. Create an idea from the arrangement of the words

4. Present the final project

Writing requires the same intense preparation as any other art, you have to make it personal, and you have to own the idea. You have to think of your writing as a block of information you will own and others will want to buy if you plan to publish it. If it is not worth copyrighting it is not worth selling; I think of this writing that way. I own it and it is worth selling because every true writer draws a blank. Some writer’s blank space can last for a long time if they give into it and never purpose the space the blank provides for them.

Ask yourself, if I place a piece of paper (or computer) in front of me with no preconceived notion, would I be able to pull an idea out of thin air. Do I really trust my writing ability to the point where I could just write from scratch? Try it, prepare your space and see what happens, if anything comes from the practice come back to my hub and share it with me, I would really like to know if there are others out there who are not afraid of the blank space.

You can call it whatever you like, just let the blank space become a part of your writing practice. Some writers fear this moment, but it can be the most creative time in your writing career, but you must own the moment, take charge of the silence and allow it to fill you with creativity.

Drawing a blank, is not necessarily the inability to write, most of the time it could be a process of purifying and clearing your mind so that you can regroup and open yourself once again to new ideas.

At a TED conference, Elizabeth Gilbert said, after her book, “Eat, Pray, Love” saw great success people began to ask her if she feared never being able to top it, her answer was yes. However, she changed her focus from trying to top that book, to conquering the idea that she had to top it. This is the same thing I am after in this writing, stop fearing the blank space and go after the space itself.

You are not a writer because you have something you want to say, you are a writer when you have nothing at all to say and out of that creative well in you flows ideas endlessly, even when you are drawing a blank!


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