Blank Mind, Blank Screen · 14 April 2013

There are times when I sit at the computer and stare. Nothing gets written. I have a blank mind and a blank screen. Today is one of those days.

Today that blank screen sits and stays blank. My mind stays blank too. Part of it is probably because I have been going too hard. I even woke up early this morning in order to get something out on my blog. I am compelled to do so by some sort of crazy compulsion. And yet, I sit and stare at the computer and wonder why nothing is being written. I wonder why there is no spark. No inspiration.

Then, I realize. Inspiration is elusive. It comes and goes. But discipline, much more than inspiration, is what makes an artist remarkable. Discipline is much more important than inspiration for every human endeavor. Discipline rather than inspiration makes us successful. For we can accomplish so much more when we are disciplined than when we wait for inspiration to strike.

When we just get out there and do what we are disciplined to do, we get things done.

I used to be a writer who waited for inspiration to strike before writing anything. Now I am disciplined in writing. For example, today, I have had at least three false starts. I have been sitting here at the computer writing word after word on a piece that would not come. So I took a break and came back to the blank screen. And I sat.

Then, I remembered the words of one of my real readers and true friends. He said that he can tell when I just write something and when I force it. And sometimes those pieces that are just written without much planning are the ones he remembers. They are the prose he enjoys. So today, I am writing without any planning and not much inspiration. Except for those words from a friend. Today, I am writing with discipline. Just for the sake of discipline.

I have these moments of blankness more often than I care to admit. Still with discipline, I manage to pull off more writing than I ever have when I was waiting for inspiration. Six days a week as a part time hobby is not too shabby. It is exhausting, but it is good. Even if I am just writing for myself and a few real and imaginary readers, the discipline of writing is there. And regardless of how well or how poorly I write, I am sure my worst today is better than some of my previous best. It must be. For that is how discipline works.

It is an abrupt ending, but I am done now. And as I stare at the computer screen, I realize that even though I still have a blank mind, I do not have a blank screen anymore.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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