Article: Stop Staring at a Blank Page: 4 (Not So) Silly Writing Tips to Get Words on Paper #motownwiters

Image: open notepad with the word "Crap" written on the first line
Photo credit: matthewebel on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Today’s post is by editor and book coach Sandra Wendel.

Photo credit: matthewebel on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Today’s post is by editor and book coach Sandra Wendel.

Imagine the first writer’s block: perhaps a caveman with a rudimentary stick staring at a large, blank rock. Today’s equivalent of the blank rock may be a computer screen, and your process may seem like the pie chart below.

When you sit down to write (and there’s a problem right there; you may not do well sitting down), do you find yourself with a sudden urge to clean out a file drawer? Throw in a load of laundry? Search the internet for ways to clean wine stains out of carpet? Check the refrigerator for the third time? Bake a cake instead?

You have something to say, but what’s holding you back?

1. The I-Need-to-Hear-It Writer

The audio learner may well be an audio writer. You are easily distracted by sound. So the birds chirping outside take your attention away from the computer. The furnace clicking on and off, the clock ticking, the refrigerator cycling, a hum from somewhere—all distract your brain from the task at hand.


2. The I-Need-to-See-It Writer

sample storyboard with Post It notes, on easel

The visual learner needs to see the big picture. These writers make outlines (outlines can turn into the book’s table of contents). They use index cards for ideas and shuffle them or lay them out on a table to visually see the story as it unfolds. Post-It notes do the same thing when placed on a board or table, as a storyboard. Others may simply draw out the plotline through time for each character


3. The Quirky Kinesthetic Writer

Neither visual or audio driven, the kinesthetic writer needs movement, which is why sitting down at a computer/laptop isn’t going to work well. So stand up. Put your laptop on the kitchen counter. Take a walk and then come back and dump your brain onto paper.

4. Start at the Beginning—or Not

When you are wondering where to start, just jump in. Anywhere. Somewhere. And not necessarily at the beginning. Write what feels right at the moment without the pressure to start at the beginning.

People writing memoirs like to start at the beginning chronologically, and that’s fine to start with. But a smart editor can often see the big picture and move something life-defining to the opening chapter as a grabber for readers #bookmarketing

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