Fear of the blank page

I have a collection of blank sketchbooks and journals that I’m afraid to make a mark in for fear that what I commit to paper won’t be good enough to match my expectations. There's a gorgeous hardcover blank book covered in Marimekko fabric that I intended to start as a daily record of my business thoughts and goals when I moved into my new office space… a year ago. It’s still blank, but as the months pass, that simple notebook is becoming more of a burden. I see it perched on my shelf, chiding me. The past year didn’t turn out as I imagined or planned. Moving my studio after eight years in Art Central (a 3-storey commercial arts complex slated for demolition) turned out to be just the opening act for a very challenging year.

Unless I disassociate my expectations about what this past year was supposed to be like, I suspect I will never do anything with that notebook.

Have you ever not started a project in order to avoid the risk of failure? 

As creatives, we dance with failure on a daily basis. Whether we flirt with disaster by using a temperamental medium, or endure the uncertainty that comes with being a freelance designer or illustrator, the potential for failure (and success) is immense. It’s part thrilling, part paralyzing. 

Keep moving!


This article originally appeared in my weekly newsletter on August 5. To read it in its illustrated entirety, click here and to hear stories and advice from UPPERCASE readers, click here.

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Today I sent out the sixth edition of Screen/Print, the monthly newsletter from UPPERCASE. Screen/Print explores the dichotomy of creating a print magazine in a digital world. This month, I shared some of the social media tools that help communicate and broadcast the UPPERCASE message online.

Did you know that everything that UPPERCASE does is supported by our print projects? Despite that, we have far more subscribers to our e-newsletters and Twitter feed than we have actual print subscribers. In fact, we have nearly five times more followers on Twitter than subscribers to our magazine. With Screen/Print we aim to close that gap while offering our current supporters with behind-the-scenes glimpses as well as informative and inspirational links.

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