I always tell my writing students to not overthink their plot, their characters, and to simply get what’s in their head down on paper.
It sounds easy but some of them tell me they’ll still struggling with that blank page.
I know I’ve been in their position at one point. New exercise book open on my lap, pen in hand, the story in my head, but I’ve panicked, I’ve told myself what if this is awful? What if someone sees it and laughs that the thought that I want to be an author.
It’s been a long time since I’ve struggled with demon so it’s been difficult for me to convince my students that everything’s going to be okay.
Well, that was until I took up a new creative pursuit…painting.
The other day I sat with my paints, a black sheet of paper, and the image of the painting I wanted to create.
I froze, I didn’t know where to begin. What if I mess this up, what if someone sees what I’m painting…
I felt that familiar panic and insecurity. I was transported back to all those years ago when my dream was to write a wonderful story.
I believe that teachers should practice what they preach so I took a deep breath, picked up the brush, slide it across the paint and just went for it. Inhibitions gone, hand moving across the paper. Twenty minutes later I’d created something.
Just like the first story I ever wrote, it’s not perfect, to some it’s probably downright awful.
But I did it, I got it done.
So next time you sit down to write, look at the blank paper or empty computer screen as your friend and not your foe.