“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”
― Neil Gaiman
Ever sat and stared at a blank sheet of paper hoping and praying that your creative brain will leap into action? It can be soul destroying when the blank sheet of paper wins and you walk away feeling like a total failure.
Here are some useful ideas to overcome the dreaded blank sheet of paper crisis:
- Smile at your enemy – the blank piece of paper. It works!
- Tell that writing demon inside your head to be quiet! You don’t need to listen to its negativity when facing the dreaded blank piece of paper.
- Task yourself with writing 20 words. Easier to cope with. Sometimes filling the entire piece of A4 paper can be daunting. Start small.
- Draw something. It doesn’t matter how good you are at drawing. Sketching or doodling is a good way of getting your brain to think creatively.
- Draw a story board and use this to kickstart your writing.
- Write a letter to one of your characters. Sometimes approaching writing a story from another angle helps a lot.
- Write a letter to a friend. Letters are a great way of firing up creative inspiration.
- Write down the reasons why you started writing. It’s sometimes good to refocus the mind.
- Write a crazy list! I love lists. The more ridiculous the list the better.
- Repeat ‘I can do this’ again and again to yourself. This works for me. Positive thinking kick starts creativity.
- Visualise your story as a film or TV drama in your head and start to scribble down some key thoughts.
- Encourage yourself to write badly. At this stage getting words onto the page is the important task. You can address the quality in editing.
- Don’t write the title of your book and ‘Chapter One’ at the top of the page. This is the quickest way to kill all creative thoughts.
- Don’t begin at the start. Choose a scene in your story which you like the sound of and write that. At editing you can piece it all together.
- Go do some washing up! This really works for me and pleases my loved one at the same time. I don’t know what it is about washing the dishes but its a creative power source.
- Turn off all social media.
- Choose a time of the day when you at your creative best. I am random and quirky between 5.30am and 7am. This is my peak time for creative thoughts. I am also deep and intense between 8.30pm and 11pm. Trying to write at other times of the day doesn’t work for me if I am struggling with a blank piece of paper.
- Switch on some music and have a little dance. This always works for me. It really fires up my creative juices. Just remember to stop dancing once the track stops. (I can get carried away with disco dancing in the home, dance through an entire album and then have to go lie down. Sigh! If only I was into Vlogging, I could show you all a thing or two!)
Take it easy writers and good luck with the battle!
photo credit: StockSnap