“Music is the space between the notes” – Claude Debussy
Some of the best musicians, I’m told, play fewer notes than you actually hear. They play in such a way–and leave enough space–that your mind fills in more. (Granted, it was a DeadHead that told me).Artists know that negative space carries weight. It is not simply an absence of content. The “white space”, as it’s sometimes referred to by graphic designers, IS content. And it’s not just the forgotten stepchild of a composition… it is a first-class citizen. A thing that deserves as much (if not more) focus as the apparent subject of the work.
Comedians say that “timing is everything.” But by “timing”, they almost always mean “the pause.” The PAUSE is not merely a void between the Things That Matter.
ewbie writers (like me) are taught that it’s the words you cut out that matter most. We’re told to edit until nothing else can be removed. That’s great advice, and when I have time to edit (rare for a spare-time blog post, but required with a book), I start hacking off all those extra words. (Like, “off all those”). But removing words isn’t enough. We must insert space. Space for the reader to become engaged.
Space for the reader to reflect, process, and co-create the meaning.
With thanks to Creating Passionate Users for this inspiration.