Writing 101

by Susan Lewis

A blank page is scary. It stares at you, almost mocking you, daring you to think of something, anything that is good enough to print on it. It keeps whispering in your ear,

“Go ahead, mark my page.”

And the longer you stare back at it, the more it smiles. It knows it is winning. It knows you will cower, find something else to do, doubt your abilities.

You can do what people have done for ages to escape this monster: you can clean out a closet, chat with your friends, catch-up on your favorite TV show, or you can deal with it and not admit defeat.

The trick, sometimes, is to outsmart it. Don't let it see the fear in your eyes. Don't raise that white flag (which, by the way, is also blank).

You need to strike the scoundrel when it least expects it.

1.) First, pick-up a pencil. (It is actually less threatening to use a pencil than a pen. It screams “non- commitment”) Hold onto it. Don't back down. Take deep breaths and roll it around in your fingers if you need to, but don't put it back down.

2.) Next, aim the point at the page and slowly touch the top of the page. You're committed now, keep going.

3.) Now, make a little dot. If you feel daring, make a big dot (just as long as your dot is smaller than your page.)

4.) Deep breaths. You are doing good. You have to do something a little more daring at this point. You need to actually write something, anything, just as long as you keep the momentum going. You can start by writing,

“I don’t know what to write. This is really silly. Nothing at all is coming into my brain.”

Hmmm. Look. That page isn’t blank anymore. Don’t give up now.

5.) Now try writing about why you don’t know what to write.

“I just don’t know anything about this. The teacher said I had to write about this but I don’t understand what to do. I’m stumped. I don’t even know where to start.”

Wait! Do you see what I see? It looks like a reason you don’t know what to write. Could it be you are feeling lost or confused? Do you need help focusing or finding a sense of direction?

6.) How about a little help here? Tell your paper what you need to do to help with this problem.

“I guess I need to re-read the section again.”
“I should look up this word to find out what it really means.”
“I can check to see if the teacher gave me any ideas on how to do this.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m on a roll here. I wrote an article about writing and I finally conquered my own blank page. Whew!


So, how are you doing?