To create, You Have to Face the Blank Page.

Blank Page
Blank Page

I have been staring at the blank page for at least 10 minutes. I do not know what to write. My mind is blank. I procrastinate by reading more. I do not dare to face the blank page. A blank page is a perfection. There is nothing to edit.  

Before you can create, you have to face the blank page. The is a page that challenges us to dig deep. It urges us to create. To put out our work and show to the world. 

We all now living in the age of information abundance. We have no more excuse for the need to know more before we start working on a project. 

“The wonderful thing about writing is that there is always a blank page waiting.

The terrifying thing about writing is that there is always a blank page waiting.” ― J.K. Rowling

We cannot wait for inspiration to come. Every day, we have to show up to create. It does not matter how you feel, you have to show up. The process of creation is scary. You go from nothing to something. You are the creator of your world.

To face down the blank page, you have to sit down and do the work. What happens if you are not inspired or do not feel like doing the work? You still sit down and face that page. You are allowed not to do any work but you are not allowed to do other things. It is boredom or creation. The choice is yours. 

“…she (the artist, the writer) doesn’t wait for inspiration, she acts in the anticipation of its apparition.”

― Steven Pressfield

Start small. We dream of big dreams. Each journey starts with a small first step. Start putting one word on the page. Repeat the process until the page is filled with your words. 

Know your energy. When do you feel best and most creative? The hour belongs to you. It the hour is in the morning. You have to protect it with your life. The world can have the rest of the 23 hours but the hour of creativity is yours. 

It is not the tool it is you. My dream pen is the Pilot 823. I have never tried that pen but I want to own it. It is recommended by Neil Gaiman as his workhorse pen. I know I will not buy it. Having that pen does not make me a better writer. That pen will not give me the courage to face the blank page. I have to face the empty page. Do not blame the tools. It is never the tools. It is us who has to find the courage to start writing down the words. 

The journey is lonely. You can sign up for the mastermind group. A group of people who will encourage you to start work and keep going until you are done. They can lead you to the blank page but they cannot write it for you. You have to pick up the pen and start writing on the blank page. The journey of creativity can be lonely. The people around you can only be your cheerleader. Let the solitude help you to know yourself better. 

“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.” ― Audrey Hepburn

It is all on you. The blank page, the work and the results, it is all on you. You have to be responsible for your work. It is scary. There is no one to blame but yourself. Take ownership of your work. Give your best effort. Most importantly, sign off with your name. 

Everything starts with facing the blank page. 

Start Small to Chase Your Dream

Start Small
Start Small to Chase Your Dream

I have big dreams. Many of us have big dreams. The dream of living the life that we want. The dream of quitting a dead-end job and start a business. 

We are encouraged to dream big. We are encouraged to aim for the moon. When we miss, we can be among the stars. Well said. 

For myself, aiming for the moon is scary. I am never fully prepared for it. I want to know more. There is always one more book to read. One more detail to plan out. 

I did not take any action. I want to chase that dream but I am overwhelmed by it. I did not wake up from that dream to make it into reality. 

 “Stop thinking about it. Stop Dreaming about it. Stop researching every aspect of it…Start doing it. Take that first step and make it happen. GET AFTER IT.” – Jocko Willink

We just need to start small. 

“A thousand miles starts with a single step.” – Tao Te Ching

Stop the research. Do not use the excuse of needing to know more to start. We are in a world of information overload. If perfect knowledge is what need, we all would be billionaires. The need to get collect more information is just an excuse.

Sketch it out. Get a piece of paper and sketch your dream. Let your finger do the talking. Do not edit your dream. There is no thinking here. Nothing is too big or unrealistic. When you finish, look at the paper, ask yourself if this is what you want? Is this your dream? 

Chances are that it is not what you want. You have to start over. 

Do not feel deflated when you have to start over. At least, you know you will not be chasing the wrong dream. You have to dream the right dream; wake up and do the right things. 

Start without being told. The Internet has even out the playing field. There are no more gatekeepers. If you want to publish your book. You can publish without engaging any publishers. 

If you want to sing and perform. You can perform in front of a camera and publish onto the internet. You do not need to speak to any record label. Start now. You have my permission. Now, you must permit yourself to chase your dream.

 “Reject the tyranny of being picked: pick yourself” – Seth Godin. 

Do the simplest task. Did I skip a step on breaking down the dream into a list of tasks? No. I did not skip that step. Instead of planning your dream to death. I want you to start with the simplest task. 

If you dream of writing the novel, start by writing a blog. Andy Weir published his work – The Martian on his blog for free. It was due to the reader’s request for an e-book where he self-publishes the book through Amazon. Andy started small. He started with one blog post followed by another and another.

Do you have a business idea that might make you millions? Start small by having only one paying customer. Use the simplest tools. Do it manually and get as much feedback as possible. When you are ready, start to acquire your second customer. Invest the money back into your idea when you confirm your second customer. 

Do you have an app idea that you might change the world? Sketch out your ideas and post in on a bidding site. You will receive feedback and questions from bidders. You will know whether you should continue to pursue your idea. 

Use the 80/20 rule. This is the Pareto principle. 20% of your task will determine 80% of your results. An aspiring writer should just focus on writing and publishing quality work. Activities such as marketing and SEO is important, but it is not as important as writing. 

If you are developing an app. Focus on 20% of the functions that are most important to your users. 

When I started this blog I kept the design simple. I used the standard template. I did not spend too much time thinking about its design. To me, I just want to write. I want my writing to engage the readers and have them to come back regularly. 

“Ninety-nine per cent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time-and energy-consuming.”

Timothy Ferriss

Learn what you need to know. I get it, there are many things that you need to know to make your dream into reality. Instead of learning it all in one sitting. You should learn as and when the need arises. There are many free contents available on the Internet. If you prefer to learn through visual and audio. You can try YouTube. YouTube is the second-largest search engine. If you require something more structured, there are many online courses available. The online courses can be either free or paid. The important thing is not to overspend in pursuing your dreams. For every dollar that you put in, the dollar has to give you the maximum return. Be it knowledge or profitability.

Publish it. Start small. It is a fact, your first release is not going to good. You have given it your best. Time to push the publish button. Publish first your first blog. Release your first piece of music. Deploy the first version of your application. By putting yourself out there you will find immediate feedback. It is through feedback you know what you need to improve.  

 “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” –Reid Hoffman

Today, take the first step to reach out for your dream. Start small. It should not cost you a lot of time and money. The journey to realise your dream may be still far away. At least, you are one step closer.