On blocks and facing the empty page

I wrote and deleted this post several times before continuing to write. It’s not easy to think of yourself as a writer and not have the words to say what’s in your head. It is easy to delete the draft, go back to what you were doing, and go another day without writing.

The empty page is a metaphor for a lot of things. When the page is empty, you have a hard time beating yourself up for what you wrote. When the page is empty, there are no commitments for what you will do next. And when the page is empty, you haven’t taken a stand or offended anyone.

That’s exactly the right time to start writing. I guarantee it won’t be exactly the thing that’s in your head. But once you get going the writing will start to take shape and you’ll realize what was rattling around in your head in the first place.

For me, writing blocks almost always indicate that I am not facing something in my life or that I haven’t yet worked through a challenge I am thinking about. And writing about it almost always helps me face the challenge. Maybe not always head-on, but at least better than ignoring it.

Today I am thinking of the challenge of being a parent of a teenager. Yup, it’s not always easy. Or maybe it’s almost never easy. Maybe being a teenager is a bit like looking at the blank page. When you’ve tried few things in your life you don’t know which ones are going to be the ones that make people happy and which ones you might regret.

Either way you have to start by starting. In this case, it’s probably not the best writing I have ever done. Or will do. However, it’s now out of my head and forces me to commit to doing it again the next time I feel blocked.


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