Going from a Blank Space to a Love Story
Episode #8 of the course “The basics of English writing” by Sarah Stanley
You’re sitting at your computer. Your document is open, but the words aren’t flowing. The absolute emptiness of the page is mocking you. You know you want to write about that new legislation about cars, but every time you sit down at your desk to write, nothing happens. Never fear! We’ll go over how to get rid of all that blank space now.
Here are some suggestions to overcome writer’s block and conquer the blank space:
Always outline! It’s the best way to organize your thoughts and make sure you can reasonably make your argument. In general, most simple writing pieces will have five paragraphs: introduction, body 1, body 2, body 3, and conclusion.
The first sentence doesn’t have to be the beginning. I’m much better at writing the body of the piece than the introduction. I always write my strongest argument first, then however many others I need, arrange them in a logical fashion, and create a beginning and an end. Your writing project is a puzzle, and the paragraphs are your pieces. Create your paragraphs first, and then put the puzzle together.
Research your topic. Maybe you’re struggling because you’re missing a piece of information. Knowledge is power, and more information on your topic may help you. Maybe you need a transition from one point to another, or maybe you’re subconsciously not convinced of your own argument.
Walk away. Sometimes you just need to get away. Maybe you’re tired, maybe you’re too close to the problem, or maybe you’re hungry. Once you realize your focus isn’t there, take a break. Go for a walk. Read a book. Go for coffee with a coworker. Do something completely unrelated to your writing project. Ideally, when you get back to your work, you’ll be refreshed and ready to write a love story.
Here are some guaranteed ways to keep that space blank:
Waiting for inspiration. No, you don’t need the heavens to open—you just need to get to work.
Procrastinating until you feel ready to write. You’ll never feel ready if you don’t want to. Decide on a time to write and get to work.
Feeling bad for yourself. Everyone struggles with writer’s block. Everyone. Don’t think you’re special and therefore deserve to have a pity party. Ignore your desire to sulk and get to work.
“Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott
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