Thursday, June 9, 2011

Beginnings - Where do I start? How do I start? Will it be good enough?

So, here I am staring at a blank page on my blog. I want to write today, but nothing is coming to me; No ideas. No thoughts: No hip, cool subjects jumped out at me. I feel lost about what to write. Then it hits me...beginnings. Oxford Dictionary: perform the first part of; start.  Yikes. Starting. Does that sending chills up your spine? Starting your taxes, starting a diet, starting a conversation. Staring at a blank page. As a writer and artist, I find staring at a blank page very intimidating. I want it to be good and I want it to express what I'm are thinking and feeling. In other words, I have an expectation about how it should be, look, etc. One of my favorite quotes is by Anne Lamott, writer.  In her book, "Bird by Bird" she says, don't be afraid to write a shitty first draft. Whether it's an exercise program, writing an essay, creating art, or anything else, we can feel as though a huge question mark is staring at us.  When I lead my Mandala workshops, I tell participants, if you are having trouble beginning, place your pencil anywhere in the circle and let the pencil guide you. Give the power over to the pencil. Allow it to speak for you for a few moments. I really believe that whether it is a creative piece or an academic paper, we can give ourselves some room for exploration or curiosity as be move into unknown territory of the blank page. One small movement is a beginning. One word is a beginning. One stoke of the brush is a beginning. BEWARE....the voice of criticism will be lurking just around the corner waiting to pounce. Ask it to step aside; remind it, you are having fun and don't need its help; and ask it, what do you get out of putting me down?


  • Place a blank piece of white paper in front of you about 8 1/2/11 plain computer paper.
  • Use whichever medium you feel most comfortable with
  • Ask the paper if it has any messages for you today
  • Close you eyes for a few moments as you rest your hand on the paper in front of you
  • Move your hand around the paper
  • Does a color, shape, size, image come to mind?
  • Does the paper feel warm, cold, or hot?
  • Does it feel soft, hard, textured?
  • Maybe a question such as where do you suggest I begin? would be helpful
  • As you move your hand on the paper does a particular shape form?  
  • Let all of this be a guide for you.
  • Allow the page to speak to you and when you feel images, shapes, or colors come to you...go with them.
  • Do not judge
  • Do not erase
  • Just play!
Everything you have done so far has been a beginning. You have begun. Be careful about judgement. This is not about how much, how good, how perfect; it's about getting started and moving forward. Have fun with it and ask all critics to step outside. Be kind and gentle with yourself...No punishing talk. Kind, loving words as though you are speaking to a young child...