Outcome: Drafting

Evaluate drafting activities

It’s finally time to hit the road, and embark on our journey. Enter the drafting process: getting those stray thoughts and sources down on the page.

This is also a moment of apprehension¬†. . . it’s the first time the trip, the essay project, becomes an “official” thing. You might suffer briefly from “blank page anxiety.” Don’t worry, you’re not alone, as this essay by Allan Besselink conveys.

“Fear of the Blank Page”

Black and white photo of framed canvas on wall with texture but no image. A white chair sits at bottom left against wall.

The blank page. Such simplicity. Clean. Yet so daunting. Scary.

Staring at a blank page, or screen, or canvas, can be one of the most daunting yet exhilarating moments we face. There can be a degree of trepidation and anxiety that forces you to put off the creative process. Maybe a better time or a better frame of mind will come. There are always any number of excuses to walk away from it. Hey, I don’t need this right now. You can’t make me do it.

Fear of the blank page. I have had my share of moments when I sat looking at this computer screen, thinking that there was simply nothing to say. I think we’ve all had those moments, not just in creating art, or writing, or pondering the origins of space and time. They come to us in the blank pages of our lives that we are creating moment by moment.

Fear of the blank page. It provides us with another excuse – to not write, to not create, to not go forth and challenge our thinking, to sit back and rest on our laurels. It gives us reason to be mediocre or to take the low road. We like to think that a more opportune moment will strike us serendipitously. It rarely happens that way.

Let’s face it – the blank page is the lowest common denominator, the great equalizer if you will.

The blank page, however, is really something that we should embrace. It gives us the opportunity to create something wonderful. It is not a time for fear or trepidation, but a time for creativity. It is in the quietest of moments when epiphany strikes us. And epiphany is spectacular at times.

Our lives are a blank slate – awaiting a splash of paint, an experience, a passion. Can we afford to sit with eyes transfixed on the blank page in front of us? Or do we just need to sit down and hammer out a story? Should we keep the paints in the box, or should we pull them out and throw them onto the canvas?

The blank page of our lives can at times be one of angst or emptiness, fear or anxiety. Darkness. But it is always darkest before the dawn. If we brave the elements, that light, that dawn, always arrives. There may be a fear of doing something – but shouldn’t the fear of not doing something be even more compelling?

The only way you get better at writing is if you write. Fear not. Throw the words at the blank page.

The only way you get better at painting is if you paint. Fear not. Throw the paints at the blank canvas.

And the only was you get better at living is if you . . . live. Fear not. The blank page awaits.

It’s also helpful to remember at this stage that you’re NOT actually starting from a blank page, even with your first draft. You’ve got the fodder of your prewriting, outlining, and source gathering at hand to build from.

What You Will Learn To Do

  • evaluate strategies for drafting from an outline
  • evaluate considerations unique to early drafts
  • evaluate the value of multiple draftsGraphic titled Draft. Bullet list: first, working, final. All is in a blue circle bordered by gray arrows.