Here it is —
A blank sheet of paper.
A pen full of ink.
Tuned guitar in hand.
It feels like there’s nothing to say, but everything to say. A few fragmented melodies and a handful of over-used cliche lyrics are all I have. So, I push the chair away from the table, set the guitar down, and leave with nothing but disappointment and self-loathing.
You’ve probably been in that same chair as many times as I have. Whether it’s songwriting, poetry, or any other bearing-your-soul-onto-canvas sort of art, the artist has the daunting task of filling up blank spaces with bits of themselves and their experiences — and there’s nothing comfortable about that.
A few years ago, I read a book that profoundly challenged me as a songwriter. It wasn’t a book about music… it wasn’t a book about being a better lyricist… it wasn’t a book about formulas for the perfect pop song. If I could sum it up in a sentence and personally rename the title, it would be — “Hey man, stop trying to write songs and just write something everyday .” it challenged me to get into a discipline and rhythm of writing constantly, and downplayed the pressure to conjure something up every time i sat down.
So, let me say it plainly:
Just write something. anything.
Today. And tomorrow. And the next day.
Free yourself from the anxiety of creating something awesome today. Just create something. Today. Everyday.
Writing is really exercising the creative muscle (if you will), by forcing yourself to put pen to paper and keystroke to blinking cursor. Every single day, wake up with the aim to create something…and give yourself the freedom to fail. The goal of writing is to incorporate a rhythm in your life of constantly creating…always writing…always re-visioning the world around you and filling up blank spaces with pieces of your story and experience. And as you continue to exercise the skill of writing, you’ll see your artistry flourish.
Don’t be afraid of the blank sheet of paper.
Don’t fear the blinking cursor or the empty canvas.
Don’t let the worry of failure cripple you.
You’ve been given the gift of creativity and the opportunity to fill blank spaces.
So, fill it with honesty and vulnerability. And do it everyday.
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