Fear, The Blank Screen and Honing My 5.30am Writing Habit

It still scares me.

It’s 5.30am and I’m awake as I begin my slow shuffle down to the office and slump in the chair. Firing up the laptop I wipe sleep out of my eyes and wait.

The process is normal now.

writing habit

Screenshot courtesy of DeskPM, my new writing app which allows you to write offline, then connect and post directly to your blog or website. It’s amazing!.

As I anticipate the words, butterflies appear in my tummy and questions arise in my mind.

What will I say to you today?

The blank screen still makes me shudder. It still sends a certain fear through my body as I decide what to write about. Sometimes the ideas flow freely, other days it’s like drawing with your left hand—it’s awkward.

Today I’m not sure where to go. I write, delete and rewrite. It’s as if the words I’ve put down on the page won’t stick.

I do a mental brainstorm of all the things I could talk about. The false idea of legacy? Na, not today. 50 Shades, that’s popular? Don’t add to the noise Travis. Pull out an old draft? Meh.

So I just sit. I keep my arse in the chair and wait.

5 minutes.




30 minutes.

Time today isn’t waiting for me as it normally does.

It’s nearly 6.15am and I haven’t written a word.

But I trust the process.

Eventually they begin to appear. The flicking white line on the screen begins to slowly move down the page as the helvetica text appears.

It makes me happy to see progress being made. It makes me smile when things keep moving forward even amidst my frustration and uncertainty about what will appear.

Sometimes its best to write about how hard it is to focus. Bring to mind the thing you are trying to create and visualize it happening. It seems to work for me.

I’m learning life’s a lot like writing. It’s a disciplined process. It’s about working hard. It’s doing the uncomfortable to achieve the remarkable.

Often I move on because the ideas aren’t flowing how I imagined. But showing up is the important thing. Putting my bum in the chair and not moving compels the words to flow.

It’s like my brain and my butt are connected. When one stays on the chair the other fires up.

I’m learning to be patient with my life. If I move too quickly I might miss the best bits.

You too friend. Stay put and learn to quiet the fear within you.

The blank page is an opportunity. It presents a new sunrise, a chance to create all over again.

And watching my world of words emerge right in front of my eyes makes getting up early tomorrow easier.

Easier, not easy. It is still 5.30am.

But I’ve learnt that’s when all the world changers are waking, so it’s best I keep honing the writing habit.

And you? Keep honing whichever habit you are creating. It’s worth it.