I‘ve spent years wishing that I had more space in my life and on my calendar. My internal press to get stuff done, make things happen, be on top of it the right way . . . has always seemed to crowd out space, leaving less room for reflecting, creating, or doing what I love most.

And lately, I’ve been musing a lot about space, especially white space.

  • It’s white space surrounding other design elements makes them pop and gets your attention in design.
  • White space reveals and showcases what’s important, whether in a photograph, on a webpage, or in life.
  • White space has been showing up more in my life, on my calendar, and on the page as I’m writing my book.

Maybe living through the pandemic where routines and relationships have faded away has opened up space?

The pandemic’s uncertainty has driven many of us to face things we’d either hoped to keep safely tucked away–family conflict, doubts, and dissatisfactions, fear–or things we didn’t know, at a deep level, were even possible (new career, a dream re-visited, a different future).

Or, is white space simply an aspect of this season of my life?

Well, I’ve lived long enough that my life is chock full of people and stuff and plans. Who knows?!

I do know that my commitment to writing a book, about the importance of pausing (a kind of space in itself), and the literal white space that I face on the page each day, has got me in a bit of a twist!

Open white space–in blocks of time on my calendar or on the writing page–blank, clean, and free–invites me to create and express, yet it terrifies me too! There, it’s out!

Ok, ‘terrifying’ might be too strong a word, but it captures the edgy tension of my anxiety that wakes me early at 4:30 a.m. ideas swirling in my mind, heart rate quickened.

Later it compels me to say ‘yes’ when a ‘no’ would better serve the moment.

White space has been calling me to slow down and to trust what’s unfolding. I’m not sure I know how.

At the outset of my writing journey, I had only a scant idea of my expectations.

Being blocked, dry, and tortured are experiences writers often complain about, yet I naively thought my writing would easily spill out onto the page fully baked and elegant. I was wrong.

I didn’t appreciate the requirement writing would have of me–time, energy, and heaping mounds of heart.

Yet the most surprising thing white space has revealed to me, as I’ve wrestled her down, is a simple, core issue: permission.

Permission to reflect, create and express freely from within myself, sans outside expectations.

You certainly don’t have to write a book to feel the tension of being excited yet edgy at the same time.

But I am curious, what’s your relationship to white space revealing to you?