Richard Swenson talks about margins. Not the stock kind. The paper kind.
He says, look at the white space on a page in a book. It helps you read the book.
Take it a step further. Look at how much white space shows up on the page in an ebook.
In our books we want the space, the room to think and reflect and write our own meaning.
So why is it that we put so little margin in our lives?
We write right up to the edges of the pages, trying to get as much data on every page, into every part of every page, as we possibly can. Our work and our families and our futures and our dreams and our obligations each get 100% of our attention all the time.
Which means that nothing gets our full attention.
Recently I was running sound for an event. It was easy. The only real need for attention were the four times when someone new walked up onto the platform to be interviewed by the speaker. I needed to turn on the extra microphone.
The first time, we missed a few words. The second time, the speaker had to ask about the mic. The third time, I was close. The last time, I got it right.
The first time, I was thinking about a text to Nancy. The second time, I was looking at an email. The third time, I had to decide to pay attention. The last time I had closed the computer.
If there isn’t enough white space in the book you are writing with your time, your life, your attention…if there isn’t enough in mine…maybe readers will give up, lacking the energy to process everything.