Anything Will Do

When you start bumping up against that deadline (regardless of whether it’s assigned or self-imposed) and your cursor is still blinking at the top of a blank page, what do you do?  The answer is simple. Start writing.  Sooner or later, you’ll have to break the spell.  Do it sooner.

Don’t stress, it doesn’t matter what the subject is. Just start getting some words down on “paper.” The combination of a blank page and a blank mind can be particularly paralyzing.  So start writing.  At least you don’t have a blank page any more, half the battle’s been won.

Get that first sentence down. Others will follow. Don’t worry about editing as you go, spell check will pick up most of your typos.  You can tweak later. Look at that, you’re already on the third paragraph!  If your mind is a blank, and the words aren’t coming, write about how that feels.  Describe the frustration.  Write about the intimidation of a blank page.

Type up your grocery list and then write a few sentences on why you need those items. Expand that into a discussion of the pros and cons of menu planning.  Describe your favorite dish in detail: the ingredients, the process, the smells, the textures, the flavors, the cleanup.

Not much of a cook?  Write down what would you like to do if you suddenly had a free day.  What are some of your lottery fantasies, what would you do with $80 million? Write a sketch of your favorite relative, or what you hate about that cranky neighbor. What was your favorite vacation?  What quirky behaviors do you exhibit?  Are you a dog person or a cat person and why?  Use music as an inspiration and analyze a song or use the lyrics as a plot line for a short story.  Describe a tree without using the words trunk, bark, leaves, branches or roots. Invent five words and come up with definitions for each one.

It really doesn’t matter.  The above suggestions are random ideas off the top of my head.  If one works for you, great.  If not, make up your own list. The possibilities are endless.  The idea is to bust up that logjam and get the ideas flowing freely again.

Once you have gotten past that obstacle, then maybe you’ll have an easier time writing what you need to. Is that cursor still blinking? It won’t write itself. Now DROP and give me 500—words that is.  Start with “I write because…” You have 30 minutes, starting… NOW!

What are your tips for battling the blinking cursor?

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Please take a moment to fill out my poll on the right if you haven’t already done so.
illustration by Andy Black


2 comments on “Anything Will Do

  1. I do this.

    What I’m diong write now. I just mad etwo — no three mistakes while typing. and I keep going.
    I don’t stop if it’s junk. I don’t know when I’ll hit gold. All I know is to keep going and I can come back and hack away at it if it’s all junk. I know if I keep going rather than focusing on the sempty space that I’ll make soemthign. I’ll create somethign. I’l make mistakes and I’ll flop and that will be ok.

    In the end, I was honest, I created, and hopefully I connected.

    thanks for leetting me make mistakes! It ws hard not to correct all of these, but I think it served my point!

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