The Blank Page
Sitting down to write, we pen our thoughts onto a blank page. The paper represents our personal world, where we live. Ruled paper is very conforming, whereas clean, unlined paper offers us the opportunity to set our own parameters. How we fill the page is comparable to how we fill our life.
I often say to clients, ‘breathe into your writing’ meaning allow space on your page — space to breathe, to think, to make time for the really important people and things in your life. Sitting down to write, take three or more deep breaths into your tummy: placing a hand on your lower abdomen, breathe so that you can feel it expand. Breathe deeply, beyond the chest. These are cleansing, calming breaths. You will feel a difference.
Next turn to your blank page.
Setting up our blank page, we give our writing margins, spaces between the letters, spaces between words, spaces between sentences, and spaces between the lines. Margins frame our page.
• Margins are usually about an inch from the edge of the page, although
the right margin may be slightly less because that’s where our lines end,
and the words cannot line up exactly.
• Our top margin is an expression of respect, giving space to the reader.
• Spaces between letters allow our handwriting to breathe. Spaces
between the letters are about the width of half of a lowercase cursive a.
• Spaces between the words indicate how much ‘elbow room’ we give to
others who share our life. Spaces between words are ideally about the
full width of a cursive a.
• It’s important not to tangle our handwritten lines. Sometimes the upper
loops or stems of letters like d, h, l, f, or t touch the letters in the
Sometimes the lower loops or stem of letters like g, q, p, y, j, or z
touch the letters in the line below. It’s important to allow enough space
so that each line is clear and doesn’t invade the line above or below.
• Moving our pen, we work our way across the page from the left margin to
the right side. We move steadily, evenly across each line making our
baseline level across the page.
The blank page represents our world, the environment we live in. How we fill the page is illustrative of how we fill our world, our life. Is there enough time and space in it to enjoy all the things we want to do? Are we crowding too much into every hour? How present do we feel? What does your page say to you?
Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.
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