There’s that blank page. Or the empty file.
That thing you want to, have to, are supposed to turn into a story.
And you have no idea how to begin.
Your mind goes blank, all that old doubt comes creeping in, and you can feel yourself get blocked more and more every minute you stare at that page.
That’s writing hell.
The good news is that writing is not the same as reading. As Dean Wesley Smith has explained so well in his lecture series “Writing into the Dark”, you do not have to write a story from beginning to end.
You are allowed to start with the scene you have in mind.
Just start writing that part that you know. And then fill in the blanks afterwards.
But… but that’s now how it’s supposed to be!
It isn’t? Well, the truth is you can write your story any which way you want. And there are ways that fit you well, and other ways that don’t fit you at all. Only you can figure that one out.
So if that blank page give you that sinking feeling, there are two things you can do:
1) Create a template for your writing
Set up a template with the exact font and spacing you prefer in your favorite word processor. (I still use old manuscript format, silly traditionalist me. Yes, Courier New, doublespaced, 1 inch indent.)
Leave a space for the title, but definitely add your byline. (By Author Name) That will make it clear it is your story.
Alternatively, set up a file in Scrivener.
Do a bit of plotting, add the background for your main character and the villain, and just get everything you already know into that file. I can assure you, scenes will start playing out in your head – and you can quickly jot down reminders for yourself.
2) Tap on your writing confidence
Yes, it’s back to mindset. Because that blank page completely loses its ability to scare you and suck out all of your thoughts if you feel confident about your writing and your story.
You’ll be able to write if you’re already excited and engaged in the story you want to tell. If you can already see, hear and smell your characters. That’s the enthusiasm you need to create a cracking story anyway. So give yourself the time to let that story grow in your head – and again, feel free to write down those pieces you already know. The rest will come.
Here are some tapping suggestions:
Even though I feel so stuck when I look at that blank page or the chapter header, I’m a good writer, and I now give myself permission to start with what I already know.
Even though that blank page is so horrible and scary, and it eats all my thoughts, I’m a good writer, and I now choose to make that blank page as inviting and pretty as I can.
Even though I always thought I had to write a story from beginning to end, just the way I read one, I’m a good writer, and I now give myself permission to write and plot and write and plot until the story is finished.
Have you tried the tapping? What are your experiences with that dreadful blank page? How do you start into a story?
Image Source: F. Moebius
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PPS: I can help you deal with the doubts and fears you might have about writing. And we can create new habits both for your thinking and writing. EFT is the fastest way I know to shift limiting beliefs, old thought habits and other kinds of blocks. Click HERE and send me an email. Together, we’ll figure out how I can support you best.