Writer’s Block: The Blank Screen Blues

Oh Hello,

I’ve been thinking a lot about writer’s block.

Freelancing is the next step I want to take with my writing but I’m afraid of taking on a job for a client and getting stuck on how to execute it.

There’s nothing quite like staring at a blank page. Completely paralyzed by the white brick wall. Knowing you have something in you that’s waiting to get out but being unable to begin. I’ll write a sentence, hate it, backspace it. Take a deep breath to start hammering away at the keyboard. Make a paragraph and yell as I delete it. Everything’s a nonstarter.

Here are two ways that I’ve gotten over the wretched writer’s block. 

1. Let it Marinate:

By this, I mean that you know what to write but you’re letting the words for it build in your head until you have the best version to start with. Like letting a steak soak in spices overnight, some things are better if given a little extra time. For this, I find Notes By Google Keep is my greatest tool. The app is a travelling scratch pad on my phone for when the right words hit me but I’m in the wrong places. There’s never a pen handy in the line at the grocery store.

    This is a great way to start but it doesn’t mean that the first thing that comes out will be the final version. The hardest thing I’ve ever written was Every 7 Years. It’s about my college roommate who passed away suddenly. After marinating for weeks I changed it several times. I felt like nothing I wrote had done him justice. In fact, now that it’s published I try not to go over it because I know I’ll change it again.

2. Stream of consciousness:

My other method for beating the white screen blues is to just start typing. I did this with Windswept Serotonin. It doesn’t matter what comes out or if it’s spelt right — just go. I start by asking myself the big question. Why am I writing this? What is the reader going to get out of it? Sometimes all I’ve got is “I have no god damn idea! What the hell did I get myself into?” but it will always settle and flow into what I was trying to say.

Both of these methods work but they are not always foolproof. So I’m looking for some advice to get over my fears. What is your writing process? What do you do when you’re stuck?

Also, I wonder, when you are reading things that you’ve written before, something that you thought was the greatest thing you’ve ever written  — do you ever want to change it? Or maybe that’s just me and I’m just neurotic.

Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading,


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