The Dreaded Blank Page

By Francesca DeLuca

Nothing is more discouraging than staring at a blinking cursor on your laptop. Of course, you have a lot to say, and yet, now that you want to begin, the words are floating somewhere in your crowded brain, just out of reach. Perhaps you are not sure where to begin your story, and it becomes the “What If I start with…….” internal conversation.

Don’t fight it. Distract yourself for a few minutes. Go play with the baby. Read a chapter of a favorite book. Clean the kitchen, start a load of laundry. Call your Mom or Dad. The distraction – whatever it might be – could be that nudge you need to begin.

And there are no rules, really, as to process. Because every writer’s process differs. Some writers can sit down and write for an hour or two (or longer) at a time, and that’s what they do every day. It is their routine, their daily job.

Maybe you’re a writer who has a daily word count, and then you’re finished. You might only write in the early morning or late evening. Or you research a topic and then type with a frenzy, pounding your laptop keys.

Surroundings matter. Sitting in a quiet spot at home, comfortably dressed, hot coffee or tea in abundance nearby. A veranda in Hawaii could offer some inspiration, as would a cabin in the woods with a terrific view of the mountains. Your commute could be a source of inspiration, sparking new ideas, while you’re dodging unsafe drivers, clutching the wheel.

Write something, not nothing. Better to get your joy or frustrations documented, than nothing at all. Really. Your random musings may take you in different directions, and ultimately solidify your thoughts and ideas.

“If you’re waiting for the perfect moment, you’ll never write a thing because it will never arrive. I have no routine. I have no foolproof anything. There’s nothing foolproof.” — Margaret Atwood


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