Don’t Stare At a Blank Screen of Death

The thing that keeps most people from writing is the dreaded blank page. You get yourself motivated.  You sit down and turn on your word processing program.  You stare at the page.  You try to come up with the perfect first sentence.  After a few minutes you finally begin typing one.  Your next thought is that it just isn’t right and you delete the whole line.  You stare at the blank page a little longer.  Finally you write something else.  It isn’t right either.  So you delete it. 

This process continues on for an hour or two…until you give up in total frustration.  Writing must not be for you!  I’ve been there.  I’ve felt the pain.  I’ve stared at the blank screen of death.  Nothing came to mind.  Nothing ended up being written down.  All I did was stare. 

This pain continued until I learned a much easier writing system.  I used to dread writing.  I hated sitting down to write something.  Maybe moving some papers around my desk would be better.  Maybe making a phone call to a friend would help.  Maybe taking a break was what I needed.  You’ve probably experienced some of those same thoughts….where you’d do anything to avoid sitting there with that blank stare on your face.

Writing the first sentence of an article, an ebook, or a book is the most difficult sentence to write.  So don’t start there! That’s one of the secrets.  What you must learn to do is to break up whatever you’re writing into smaller chunks.  If you’re writing an article for example, come up with 3 to 5 points you want to make.  Break up the article into these principles, steps, or points.  Now instead of writing a 500 word article, you’re writing 100 word chunks for each of the steps you’ve created.

Which is easier to think about writing…one full article or simply a two paragraph section?  Obviously it’s easier to write two paragraphs.  Once you’ve decided on the steps or principles your article will contain, you can then begin writing on any individual section.  There is no rule that you have to start in the beginning…and in most cases, that’s the last place you should start.  Pick any of the sections you’ve now created and start there. 

Write about point number four if that’s the one which comes the easiest for you.  Then write about step three.  Work on each step or section individually and once they’re all finished…then you come back to the beginning.  As you see your article slowly taking shape, that’s when you’re motivated to continue.  And the more you write, the easier it gets to keep going. 

The basics of today’s lesson is that you must not allow yourself to sit there staring.  Do a simple outline of the main points you want to make.  Begin writing on whichever point will be the easiest for you to do.  Take each section individually so you only have to think of doing a paragraph or two at a time.  Often the beginning of the article is the last portion written.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the biggest mistake new writers make that causes them to take 2 to 3 hours to write something which should only take about 30 minutes.

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