I was rewatching one of my all-time favourite TED Talks yesterday and it inspired me to write something of a “part 2” to Tuesdays post. In the video below, director J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Trek, Star Wars, and much more) talks about the idea of The Mystery Box. He has a literal Mystery Box that his grandfather bought him at a magic store when he was a child, but he also explained The Mystery Box as those parts of movies or TV shows where you don’t know what’s going to happen next, and you want to know more. I love this talk not just because of the content, but because of the way he tells a story. There’s a Mystery Box around every corner.

Abrams also made reference to blank pages, the white space I talked about in Tuesday’s post. He explained that those blank pages, all of that empty space with room for ideas leaves room for “infinite possibilities, hope, potential.”

This of course could be a piece of paper, a digital file, a canvas, a camera, a piano waiting for you to create a new song on it, or even just those parts of your brain waiting to pull together your resources of memories and knowledge to build connections and create new ideas. We need to give ourselves the opportunities we need to see and fill those blank pages, that white space. We need to gift them to ourselves and not wait for others to hand them to us.

I sit down to write blog posts twice per week. Every day I write down an idea for a blog post. Before I do either, I have some white space, either on a screen or in a journal waiting for me to fill it with something I have to offer. Does it need to be brilliant? Of course not. If it did, I’d never write anything and the space I give myself would remain blank.

When I sit down to write a post, including this one, I usually don’t know quite where it’s going to go. It’s a bit of a Mystery Box to me, and that’s where the magic is. I get to watch as my ideas form and become something I can contribute to the world. Giving myself that space isn’t just about me indulging my desire to write. It’s about sharing the magic with you, letting you see what I can do with a blank page.

Featured image courtesy of  Neil Grabowsky under a CC-BY license.

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