Confronting My Canvas

I cringe at the sight of a blank page and a blinking cursor. The blank page is my canvas but I’ve realized that lately when I face its intimidation, I rush off to do something—anything else. I check to make sure my paints and oils are in place. I add a little more blue to my brush, dab a little red, blend it to royal purple. Decide that doesn’t work and then my canvas becomes a mirror that says, “No one will find any beauty in this.”

Fear will talk you out of greatness.

There are usually two types of writers: pantsers and outliners. In life, I am a pantser. I like making spontaneous decisions, having fun, going for it. But as a writer, I don’t always enjoy risks because I don’t want to fail.

I’ve never been a great finisher. I start a project with such gusto but usually end up waving my white flag. Hence why I can start laundry with energy at 9am but by 11am looking at piles of clothes makes me want to run and hide.

I don’t finish well.

But I’ve been carrying this book—my book—and these characters in my heart for as long as I can remember. I know I owe it to them—to those who need to read their stories—to finish. So I’ve done every bit of preparation I can. I’ve done outlines and analyses. I’ve taken aptitude tests. I’ve read books on writing. I’ve tried different methods. All to ensure that my story won’t crumble when I’m knee-deep in it. All to ensure I know all I need to know about these characters in order to be true to them.

Can I tell you a secret?

As much as I love outlining, reading, and studying the craft, I have allowed preparation to mask my procrastination. Somewhere deep inside, fear is still picking away at me. I’m horrified to really start because then I have to follow-through. If I don’t, I’ve disappointed myself and others who believe in me. If I do finish, well, now I have to give my baby to the world to read, scrutinize, and judge.

But I have to do it.

It’s scary, but it’s more frightening to get to the end of my life and not have written a single book that God put in me.

So, even though I am usually horrible at finishing, I choose to cast my cares on Jesus. The Author and Finisher of my faith. Together he and I will create beautiful words to fill pages about beautifully flawed people.

And I’m going to take my seat in front of this blank canvas, use the colors on this palette, and let each stroke of my brush create its own magic.

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