When Winston Churchill began his love affair with painting, he was overwhelmed by the empty blank canvas. Someone saw him struggling, asked for his big brush, and began adding paint to his canvas. She helped him overcome the power of the white, and from that day forward he never again felt intimidated by a blank canvas.
Just as with painting, there is a scary blank “canvas” for writers too. Sometimes the words do not want to come! The person who helped me overcome the “power of the white” was my freshman English professor, Miss Brazell. Her free writing exercise changed my life. She told us to sit down and write for twenty minutes without stopping. We could write down any and every thought that entered our head as long as we kept writing.
Some of my best thoughts come out when I stop hesitating and start writing. It is like unclogging a drain! When it is hard to begin a task, we must put our foot on the gas and get going. Even if we have a weak beginning, we can pick up steam; but, we will not go anywhere if we do not put the car in drive and press the accelerator. Like pushing a boulder over a hill, the hardest part is getting it moving.
Maybe Miss Brazell’s free writing technique could work on other tasks – like cleaning! I could get up in the morning and clean without thinking for twenty minutes and see what happens. Or, maybe I could try free cooking! I could throw caution to the wind and throw random ingredients in a pot! (Actually, that might be what I already do. Hmmm.)
Are You Overwhelmed by Your Blank Canvas?
There is also a blank canvas to overcome in relationships. We begin our lives together by dating and then become engaged. Suddenly, we are handed a couple of brushes and a huge canvas and told, “Decide what you want your life to be. Create the future you want.”
It is intimidating! Like Churchill, many of us want to approach our canvas with a tiny brush because we are completely overwhelmed by the blank page. But, perhaps the best way to get started is by picking up our large brushes, taking a deep breath, and vigorously painting before we have the chance to second guess ourselves. If we have to paint (or re-paint) over a few sections, that is no problem.
Few people become successful by sitting back and waiting for someone else to paint their picture. The people who have achieved greatness in their lives are the ones who are not ruled by fear.
Young couples, please hear me. Though the thought of painting this canvas may seem daunting to you right now, there are thousands of older couples who wish they could go back to where you are right now. And if they could, they would leave their fears behind and take the chances they were too afraid to take when they stood in your shoes many years ago. They are calling out to you. They are yelling, “Take the chance! Do not live in regret!”
Will You Let Your Canvas Get Dusty?
When dating, many couples dream about what they want their lives to be; but, after marriage, life starts happening to them, and they never make those dreams come true. They let their canvases sit, and as the years wear on, they get covered with dust, dirt, and accidental splatters, but never with intentional strokes.
But, once in a while, a couple emerges who is willing to take on the blank monster. They look their huge, white, blank future in the face and begin painting. They choose bold colors and crazy designs, and they keep on painting until they have the portrait they want. They keep on painting even when others do not like their progress. They continue painting regardless of hateful insults. This couple does not worry about the naysayers. This couple has a vision and is not wasting any time laying it down.
What kind of couple will you be? Will you get married and shove your canvas in a corner? Will you be content to let other people paint it for you? Or, will you strap on your smock, look at each other and smile, and get right to work? Sometimes, you just have to get started even if the finished product seems completely out of your reach. But, your odds of making it are much higher if you start.
I dedicate this inspiring message to my husband who is my fearless painter and has spent years waiting for me to pick up my brush, lose my fear, and paint beside him.
Will you and your sweetheart choose to overcome the power of the white?