The terror of the blank page

The Sparkle Experiment small creative play equals connection

A blank piece of paper can be seen with excited anticipation or complete terror. Making something out in air requires imagination, determination and bravery to make the first mark. No wonder if you feel lost before you’ve even started because being able to draw anything is overwhelming. You can become paralysed by choice and then the blank piece of paper remains untouched.

Ed Catmull in Creativity Inc says “There is a reason that writers talk about the terror of the blank page and painters shudder at the sight of an empty canvas. It’s extremely difficult to create something out of nothing, especially when you consider that much of what you’re trying to realize is hidden, at least at first.”

Making the first mark is simple but it’s hard to do. There’s a lot of expectation riding on it to be the start of something brilliant. But if you can see it as an opportunity to make a series of marks – one after the other – and nothing more than that, you open yourself up to creativity by letting go of your own difficult-to-meet expectations.