3 Ways to Fight the Blank Page

Have you ever known someone who wants to write but can't? Most people call that writer's block. I call it FiF, Frozen in Fear. The greater your fear; the greater your inability to write.

A lot of writers have heard of this but have never witnessed it. Most fear they might contract this as if it were a disease. Sadly, I have seen it in a few people who are excellent writers, but they no longer write. Fear gained a foothold in their brains.

What Fear Exists in the Hearts of Writers

The fear that defeats someone's dream is usually caused by personal baggage or bad experiences. Often, it's a combination of the two.

Personal baggage is what you bring to the party from the time you first understood words and attitudes from the people in your life. If, going in, you believe the deck's stacked against you, then it probably is. If you believe you'll never succeed, then you usually won't. Those attitudes affect you until the end of your life.

Bad-experience-induced fear usually results from getting battered by the uncaring vagaries of the world at large, and the publishing world specifically. You write. You submit. You get rejected. You tell yourself you suck, and there's no use in trying again, but you do. And the cycle repeats.

The kind of fear that overtakes a writer is when the personal baggage (I was told I was dumb from day one, and no one in my family even has a college education so I haven't got a chance.) goes into partnership with the bad trying-to-get-published experiences (I've written and submitted manuscript after manuscript, and I can't even get a personal rejection letter from an agent or editor.).

Writer's Block

The result of this joint venture is the growth of the power of the evil editor inside your head. The one who screams at you.

You're too old. Too young. Too uneducated. Too over-educated. Too conservative. Too freaky. Too out of touch with pop culture. Too unlucky. Too ahead of my time. Too behind in the times.

That's when it becomes hard to write. It's no longer a joy. You must force yourself to confront the blank page, and the blank page begins to win. Pretty soon you can't even think about writing because the chorus of why bother and you'll never make it is deafening.

The longer you allow this situation to exist, the bigger, harder, higher, and denser that block becomes until days, then weeks, pass without a written word. Weeks can turn into months, into years. I've seen it happen.

Defeat The Blank Page

The solution is to go forth and do battle with the blank page. Here are 3 ways to overcome the blank page -- to fight the battle each day and get words on paper. Do these in any order you wish, but start today, as soon as you finish reading this.

1. Get a plain text app that times your writing. Something like Write or Die (free download) is great for this. Set a 100 word count goal. Click start and just start writing. Don't make any corrections. You just want to get the words down before the alarm goes off. You can write anything as long as it's words, any words. They don't have to mean anything.The important thing is to spill them onto the screen, the blank page.

This trains you to just sit down and write without going through all the agonizing. By doing this, you free yourself to write garbage, crap, just words, and that breaks through the barrier that keeps you frozen. When you've got your 100 words or whatever, that's it. You can stop. Or you can keep going if the joy of seeing words pop up makes you feel refreshed. Save what you wrote or dump it. The choice is yours.

Do this everyday until you find yourself actually looking forward to it. Soon you may find yourself thinking about something you want to write and doing it. Without stress. Without worry about whether it will sell. You just put words down. And keep doing it every day until it's a habit.

2. Create a Mantra. Take a pen and paper and write this Mantra. Every morning and every night before sleeping, read your Mantra. Here's a sample one for you to use until you wish to edit it or write an original one addressing your personal issues

I am a richly talented writer. Writing is easy and fun for me. When I write, I am fulfilling my God-given purpose in life. When I write, I think only kind thoughts about myself and my writing. I believe in my ability to write good fiction. I possess all the skills necessary to write successfully. I am a richly talented writer.

3. Create a reward system. The reward depends on how long you've been a pacifist in the war of the blank page. If it's been a long time, then give yourself a big reward for fighting that first battle. Make a list of rewards. Do this right now. The first battle is the toughest battle of all. Every day you do battle and emerge victorious, reward yourself. Rewards can be anything from a Hershey Kiss to a bottle of wine, from an elegant writing pen to a book you've been wanting to read. You know what floats your boat so make a list today.

Takeaway Truth

Once you break through the wall, don't let a day go by without fighting the battle of the blank page. In fighting, you win the war. Day by day.

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