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As a writer, few things are more frustrating than having a great idea for a story with no way to get it down on the page. While you might have battled writer’s block when you couldn’t come up with any ideas, blank page syndrome is a little different. Blank page syndrome occurs when you already have plans for what you want to write, but your mind seems to just go blank whenever you get ready to type. This can happen for a multitude of reasons, and you can use these tips to work through the issue step by step.

1. Eliminate Distractions

First, take a good look around the room. Is the television on? Can you hear people talking in the other room? If so, try to create a quieter environment, or play some soft music in the background if it helps you write. Then, check your computer screen. Try to shut off down any tabs or apps that distract you from your blank page.


2. Spend Five Minutes Free Writing

Many writers find that just getting any words on the screen at all helps them to reduce the pressure they feel from looking at a blank page. Free writing is a great warm up, and you can use this moment to get your creative juices flowing. If you still find this hard, then set a timer. Knowing that you only have to try for five minutes helps you to get over that hump.

3. Use a Writing Prompt

Is free writing still too intimidating? If so, then you can use a writing prompt to help you begin brainstorming a story. The writing prompt doesn’t even have to seem as though it has anything to do with your story, or you could use it as a springboard for a scene. For instance, you could choose a prompt that encourages you to describe something that your character might actually do in your final story.

4. Make an Outline

Some writers love outlines, others never use them. While your story may veer far from the initial outline, putting a few basic concepts in order can help you start the writing process. Keep in mind that your outline doesn’t have to be perfect. The main point is to get some information about your story on the screen. You can also use this later to get started writing on a different day.

5. Start the Story in the Middle

You may be hung up on creating the perfect opening line. If so, then this is another way to combat the feeling that the cursor is taunting you. By now, you’ve probably got a few ideas about how you want the climax of the story to go. Start there, and keep writing. You can flesh out the rest of the details later.

6. Write the Ending

Similar to the middle of your story, you might have an amazing ending that you can’t wait to write. Writing a story does not have to follow a linear path. Give yourself permission to start writing at the end, and you can add in the rest of the story once you get your biggest idea out of your head.

7. Change Things Up

Every writer has a preferred writing tool, and computers tend to be the primary way to write a story these days. However, you can also break out a pen and paper to start the writing process. You can always transfer anything that you want to keep to the screen later. You can also try changing the font, text color or even the program that you are using on your computer to help your mind get unstuck.

8. Embrace Imperfection

Your inner editor might be holding you back from getting your words on the screen. Writers are often their biggest critics, and you might find that you feel intimidated by the thought of getting started. Remind yourself that it is okay for a first draft to be rough. Often, the best writing comes out of those messy first lines that may need a whole lot of editing later.

Finally getting your story on the screen feels amazing. Once you get past the blank page, you should find that the rest of the words come much easier. Now, make a few notes of what worked. You can refer to them the next time that you find yourself staring at the blinking cursor and start writing right away.