BLANK PAGE OF DEATH

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Submitted Date 06/25/2019
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I love to write. Sometimes, when I'm motivated enough, I can easily write a few thousand words down without a break. I love that feeling. The sense of accomplishment, even if it's not perfect, knowing you got the ideas in your head down.

Sadly, lately it seems I have the exact opposite issue. I have ideas. I see them in my head but the minute I open up Word to write everything down; I just stare. The white blank page on my screen. I sometimes feel like it's taunting me. I try to type and nothing comes out. Or even worse, what comes out I don't like so I end up deleting it.

I know this is a problem for a lot of writers. To me it's almost worse than writers block since I actually do want to write and have ideas; but cannot transfer them.

So, to help others in this situation I've come up with a few helpful tips that I use to get me past that blasted blank page.

 

1) Don't start at the beginning.

If you have an idea for a story, write whatever is fresh in your head. It doesn't have to the the very first word of the first page. One of the novels I wrote a few years back, I wrote out of order. I had an outline of what would happen when but some of the ideas would just hit me. So instead of being linear, I wrote whatever part of the book I was inspired to at that moment. Then I just bridged the gaps in between.

For me, that's the best way of getting passed a blank page. Whatever idea you have, write it. Which goes into another tip;

2) Don't stop to edit.

I know it's hard! Aside from fixing spelling mistakes, I try to not edit while I'm writing since if I do I normally get side tracked by all the issues that need fixing and loose my writing mojo. So if you can, just write. You can always fix it at another time.

3) Get out of your comfort zone.

I did this not to long ago by accepting a freelance writing job that was totally out of my comfort zone. Amazingly, having a new genre to learn and write sparked my creative juices.

 

4) Don't beat yourself up if you're still having problems.

This is probably the hardest thing since we all want to feel accomplishment in our writing.

Write something even if it's only a few words or paragraphs. Setting a word count goal or a timer. I find that an actual word goal is better since with a regular timer it's possible to get distracted but either works fine.

5) Join a writing group for ideas.

I belong to one and it's fun to toss around ideas and simply chat with other writers about their projects and find out what issues they have to deal with. It's a great hub for getting motivated or venting.

If anyone has more please add them in the comments. I hope my list helps a few people!

Comments

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  • JSans 3 years, 5 months ago

    I've been in this state for quite some time now. This little piece of yours is what I've been looking for. Much thanks! Now, on to conquer that blank page...

    • Brittany Martin 3 years, 5 months ago

      Oh good I'm glad! I hope you conquer it!

  • No name 3 years, 4 months ago

    I find that forcing myself to write something, even if it's dumb, is better than nothing at all.

  • Rick Doble 3 years, 3 months ago

    Hemmingway said something like never finish a chapter, stop writing when you know what you are going to say next. So when you come back to it you know where to start again.

    • Jackie Hemingway 2 months, 2 weeks ago

      Yes, here is what Papa said… The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you so try to remember it.

  • Jackie Hemingway 2 months, 2 weeks ago

    So this that you were experiencing was indeed writer’s block. Writer’s block isn’t not wanting to write, it is wanting to write and not being able to do so, exactly what you had happen. As a lifelong writer, writer’s block (WB) has come in and out of my life for various reasons. There is no single cure for this phenomenon, it affects each writer differently and it can be a crippling and debilitating condition if it is not dealt with. A lot of the ideas above can help with WB, but trying something that doesn’t work can also increase your anxiety and actually make your WB even worse. You have to deal with WB in a rational manner, don’t let the fact that it has come to visit you throw you into a tizzy. Here are a few ideas I have implemented over the years…going for a walk, just getting outdoors, breathe some fresh air. I walk down to a bench under a tree, sit, listen to the birds, look out over the ocean do a little meditation of sorts to de clutter my mind…pick up a book by another author. Sometimes reading one of my many Ernest Hemingway books for a few chapters brings me back to my muse…listen to some music, I prefer classical to get my mind in gear…talk with another writer, the conversation doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, about WB…do anything other than sit there and continually stare at the blank page! A few things to avoid that will NOT help you overcome WB…refusing to write until it has passed. If you practice this, you may find yourself in a loop of non writing that will never end…vegging out watching television probably won’t work. I say probably because it actually did work once for me, but I chalk it up to a one time deal, I wouldn’t rely on this method…trying to come up with a reason why you have WB won’t help it go away. Sometimes analyzing it can make it worse. The bottom line, writer’s block sucks, if it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. WB will affect every serious writer at some point in their career. Finding that one thing that will help you can be the difference between returning to your craft with renewed vigor or allowing it to cripple your writing project. P.S. I call it WB because sometimes if I say the words ‘writer’s block’, I’m reinforcing it in a negative way in my mind. Calling it WB almost gives it a sense of lesser importance, like it’s not even worth say the whole thing, and thus has less of a detrimental effect on me.