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getting past the blank page

re: Getting Past the Blank Page

in Creative Process by

Dear Editor…

I really want to write a novel, and I have a couple of ideas, but once I sit down at the computer and try to write, I end up staring at a blank page. I’ve looked online for ideas for motivation, but nothing has worked. Suggestions?

Sincerely,
Foiled by the Blank Page

Dear Foiled by the Blank Page…

You need to get words on the page–any words–to punch through that white wall. Try this: Open a new document on your computer and type “Today I’m writing about a [man/woman/thing/whatever] who is [doing such-and-such].” Then explain why s/he’s doing that thing, then write what s/he says to the first character to come along. You’ll slip into a conversation, then a full scene. It could be a scene for the beginning of the story or something much later; not everyone writes stories linearly. In fact, that expectation could be the source of your writer’s block. You can decide where/how the story starts later. Award-winning Richard Peck once said he rewrites every book’s opening after he’s finished the entire first draft. He doesn’t know the characters when he starts a book, so how can he write the perfect opening for their story? Get words on the page so you have something to shape and develop. You can begin every writing session with this way.

Readers, what helps you get past the blank page?

Happy writing!
The Editor

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