I am ‘facing the challenge’, it is the concept of ‘the challenge of the blank sheet of paper’, except this is the blog post box. The challenge was posed to the correspondent and broadcaster Max Hastings in his youth by his father. Hearing of it made me think. Would I find it a challenge, if so, why and how would I handle it?

There is no doubt, facing a blank sheet of real paper with a pen or pencil would be a different proposition to sliding my fingers reasonably securely and fast over a keyboard, at a speed that keeps up with my thoughts. It has always been a challenge keeping my handwriting working in time to personal creative thought. It is very difficult for other people to read my handwriting, there again, it is not always straightforward for me either.

It is strange to re-read a piece of work, which, at the time it was written, (by hand) seemed absolutely fine, but a day later, was not in the least bit coherent. Thinking and handwriting in parallel is, for me, a challenge, one that I have to resolve by consciously slowing both down, by ‘speedily’ editing the phrases I write as I progress.

I am disinclined to put on creative brakes, except in very prescribed circumstances. In the final analysis, I will continue to rise to the challenge of writing on a blank sheet, but one that is represented on a computer screen, where there is a keyboard available for me to draft out my thoughts at relatively high speed.



  1. The challange of the blank sheet of paper rings many bells for me – stretching way back to my early school days – still a challenge….However, now that blank sheet of paper exists in my ‘head’…where it all begins….it CAN…and DOES pose a great challange when it persists in its blankness….

  2. A Blank sheet of paper is a concept that I have heard many times. Unfortuately I think faster than I write and my writing leaves alot to desired. And most of the time I cant read it very good either. So blankness would come from being ineligble to the trained mind I am afraid if I could get it down. Will have to be sure I use the keyboard for this đŸ™‚

  3. I guess continuing blankness is a challenge; it might become a freeze-up, writer’s block, not exactly what you want. The next challenge would be to overcome all of that!

  4. I can fully appreciate why others would be blank about what I might hand write, without the application of self-restraint during the process. I could only endure that challenge for a time-limited period.

    Computing-word processing,has enabled me to organise thoughts out of mental disorganisation to become presentable.

  5. There was a long period when ‘the craetive muse’ seemed to be aeons away…occasional visits went entirely unnoticed; luckily for me….the muse seems alays to have infiltrated.

  6. As with many above, my writing is awful. Sitting at a keyboard has its dificulties tho. There is the easy distracton of the internet. The spell checker shouting at you as you go. I have learnt not to look at the screen any more. My typing and writing speed seem to be the same, my spelling worst when typing.

  7. The spell checker -the Microsoft one – is the worst thing ever; it is often wrong. There used to be a much better one that sat with the old MS suites. The company who developed it wanted to obtain value out of it, so MS dropped it.

    Your strategies for writing and using the computer to do so, seem to be the best of two similar tools for you. I am clear that my challenges are not that close or similar. The editing facility is good for most of us. There’s less wasted pencil,pen ink and paper with word processing.

  8. I only use the back of paper I would have chucked out. My husbdan thinks I am mad to hang on to old meaningless letters but all my writing is on those. No temptation to write on both sides either. There is so much waste we have a shreding session occasionally and put it all on the compost heap. The best spellchecker I have had is me so far tho’ I still miss a few.

  9. I agree the personal ability to spell check is best, if you are confident…I despair for people who have dyslexia and are reliant on a sub-standard tool. Word Perfect, which I fondly remember, had a great grammar and spell-checker.

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