The Blank Page

I’m sure that there are situations in your life, the mere thought of which are terrifying.  For some folks it’s public speaking.  For others it’s hosting a dinner party.  For many business people I know it’s facing a blank page.

Many authors have delivered quotes about that challenge.  Most of the good ones welcome the empty expanse of the blank canvas as an opportunity for personal growth.  Not so much business people.  They are making commerce, not art, and so there really are wrong answers.  A faulty business plan.  An unclear presentation that won’t deliver a sale.  Maybe even a blog post that means to be thoughtful but never quite hits the mark.  I face that vast wasteland every work day morning and here is what I’ve found with respect to navigating it.

First, try to get yourself into the recipient’s head.  If it’s a presentation, your focus is on the reason they’re seeing you, whether it’s at a conference or a one on one meeting.  If it’s a piece of writing such as this, what question are you answering or what enlightenment are you bringing?  Next, don’t get too caught up in the words as you write them.  You can’t edit what’s not on the page.  I know you all believe these screeds come out of my head fully-formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus but there is a fair amount of editing involved.  Embrace the help others can bring.  Let them read drafts and ask them if anything is unclear.  Be sure you don’t ask the person who would totally understand it even if it was all over the place.  Maybe the receptionist?

Every blank page is a challenge, but the hard part isn’t in the creation.  It’s in having something to say that others will find worth their time.  Hopefully, this was worth yours!

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