How to Overcome the Fear of a Blank Page
Many writers dread the blank page - the sense of staring at the open document, desperately wanting to write, yet unable to think of a single thing to say. Today I will teach you how to overcome this fear forever.
The solution is very simple:
You should never start writing with a blank page.
Sitting down to write is difficult, you should never spend your precious writing time brainstorming ideas and trying to decide on your topic.
- Create a file where you keep a list of all your content ideas.
- Sort these ideas, move the highest priority ideas to the top.
- Take the top idea on the list and set it as the title of a new document.
(In advance. If you write in the mornings, do this in the evening before.)
Now, when it's time to write - you have already chosen your topic, and your brain has been subconsciously thinking about it since the previous day.
Information Capture system
You should never do research while you're writing - it is time-consuming, dramatically slows you down, and distracts you from writing. Instead - set up an information capture system and use it to do your research passively, as you live your life and learn things.
- Use a tool like Obsidian or Notion to organize your knowledge.
- When you learn things, turn the key takeaways into the Evergreen Notes.
- Create a library of pre-researched ideas you can turn into posts.
Now, when it's time to write - you begin with your post 60% finished, you just need to assemble your existing notes into an article.
If, while you write, you notice that you need to do more research - that's okay, just add that to a todo list and keep writing. Once you're done - go through the list and fill all the gaps in your research.
Create Post Templates
There are a few proven structures that most articles fall into. I will tell you about the most useful ones in my future posts, but for now:
- When you learn a new post structure, add it to your collection.
- When you write, use these templates to organize your post.
Use all three methods, and you'll begin writing already knowing your topic, most things you want to say about it, and having a template to organize this information into. This turns writing into the paint-by-numbers process of organizing information and expressing the ideas you already have.
If that sounds boring - don't worry, there are plenty of ways to make writing more challenging and exciting. But it will certainly no longer be scary.