The Tyranny of the Blank Sheet of Paper

Blank Paper

We have all had that, “Where do I start” moment?  Confronted with the NEW, sometimes the task seems daunting.  In a recent conversation, a colleague and I were discussing an adult training program.  The subject centered on how to help students jump start a creative flow.

We humans are fond of using so called cheat sheets.  Whether school CliffNotes, Cut and Paste, Go Bys, Best Practices or other tools to wrap our mind around a subject and launch the thought process.  In other words, anything to move us away from the cosmic void–so called ‘writer’s block.’

Tidbits that Work for Me

Faced with tyranny often during my formative career years, i.e., a professional services proposal, new spreadsheet, etc. a few tricks were developed.

First—Just start writing.  Put your thoughts down as they fly out and don’t worry about the order or even if they are relevant.  You can sort these things out later, but a least your paper is no longer blank.

Get Up—Hit a spot where nothing is pouring out of your brain? Put your (electronic) paper down and go exercise or do something totally unrelated.  You will be surprised how the creative juices will flow when you return.

Ask a Friend—Remember the old game show where contestants could ‘phone a friend’ when stumped on a question?  Brainstorm with friend and colleagues; even those who have no knowledge of the problem your engaged with.  Sometimes, they have the best insight—true out of the box.

Do Something Else—If time allows put the project on the shelf and work on something entirely different.  You can come back later refreshed.

FYI, the tyranny never goes away.  Hundreds of publications and presentations later, it still can persist from time to time.  The four tidbits still work for this author.

By one definition, tyranny is “cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control.”  There is no reason to let a blank sheet of paper exercise such awful authority.  Take back your creativity!

Why Let the Blank Sheet of Paper Ruin Your Day?

For More Information

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For more information on Cross Cultural Engagement, check out our Cross Cultural Serious Game

We presented, Should Cross Cultural Serious Games Be Included in Your Diversity Program: Best Practices and Lessons Learned at the Online Conference, New Diversity Summit 2020 on April 9, 2020.  The summit will be offered again soon.  Check it Out!!

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