“Staring at the blank page before you

Open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find”

=Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield=

Every time I start writing an article or book, I think of this song. Nothing is harder than staring at a blank page… It’s difficult to make yourself start writing. Yet we must – it’s the most important part of being a writer.

Most of us write for a living, but not everybody sees themselves as an author. Perhaps you recognise yourself is some of these examples:

Teachers write – textbooks, exercises, case studies

Consultants write – white papers, blogs, proposals, reports

Business owners write – proposals, business plans, marketing plans, future direction statements

Content experts write – presentations, white papers, briefs

Are you a writer? Or is writing an important part of your job/career? If so, you must have had the experience of being totally lost for words. You stare at the paper and absolutely nothing comes out of your fingers. No words… no thoughts, no earth shattering ideas or insights…. just… nothing.

Your brain is ticking over, trying to come up with a million and one other things to do. Anything to move away of this mental pain of not being able to write your article or next chapter of your book.

How can you move from procrastination to inspiration?

Some of the tricks I use are:

  • Just start writing… Let the words flow out even when they don’t make sense at all. You can always fix it up later, it’s important to get some words written.
  • Bullet pointed list. Like a brainstorming session, you start making a list of subjects you want to write about and to try to find structure in the list.
  • Put headsets and listen to music. You’ll find a style of music that helps you to ‘get into the zone’, for me it is either classical music or Trance/dance music. It seems to help clear the mind and focus on the task at hand.
  • Turn off all notifications – they distract you from your process. Try to keep your screen focused on your writing task and nothing else
  • Walk away from the screen – get a coffee or a glass of water – but keep the page open on your screen. The next time you come back to your computer you continue typing
  • Set a goal for the day: “today I will type 2000 words” and you stop after that. Once you get into the habit of writing 2000 words each day, your brain will get used to the discipline and writing will become easier.

These tricks have helped me during my years as teacher and IT Consultant and now each time when I want to finish a book. It has definitely helped with self-publishing many of my books. (check out www.complete-publishing.com to see the process I used).

What is your trick to get the flow happening? How do you ensure that you finish your writing task so you don’t end up with un-finished books?

Ivanka Menken

 

This post was published originally at Linkedin

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