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Writer's Block? How to defeat the blank page....

We all get it sometimes. Writer's block. It can be crippling. But the worst part is that it stands in the way of someone else hearing your story. It stops others from learning from our experience. 


Worry no more!

I asked my friend, Frances Booth, who runs Here Are Some Words, a business assisting individuals and companies with all things to do with writing and communicating. Below are some of her tips!

How to defeat the blank page


Writing is not an easy thing to do!


It takes bravery – you are putting your words out there and making yourself vulnerable.


Someone might read what you have written … Someone might say something … Someone might laugh …


Acknowledge that it is a scary thing to do. And then begin. Be confident and go for it.


Take the blank page, sit down, and write.


Try to write in a ‘voice’ that is authentic – that sounds like you.


Don’t use long words that aren’t needed, and try and paint a picture with words to explain things to your reader. Be human and be genuine.


These are some of the tips I give in my training courses to help people with writer’s block.   


Tips for beating writer’s block …


  • Write the whole thing in half an hour.
  • Tell yourself at the end of it/in half an hour you can have tea/biscuits/wine …
  • Find out what helps you (Certain pens? A certain jumper?). Use these things when you write. Find out what hinders you. Avoid those things. 
  • Restrictions help, not: “Write me a story about anything” but “Write me a story about a character who goes to sea”. Your brain immediately gets to work on it.
  • Plan to write for just 20 minutes if you are feeling you don’t have enough time. Chances are, at the end of 20 minutes, you will want to keep writing.
  • Walk away from it. This is one of best things I was ever taught about writing headlines. Walk away for two minutes, and make a cup of tea or walk round the block. The idea will be there when you get back. This is quicker than sitting for ten minutes trying to force the idea to appear.
  • You need inspiration. You can’t constantly write if you haven’t filled your ‘bank’ of ideas. So take 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, or 5 weeks off and explore.


The last word:

 “Finally, one just has to shut up, sit down, and write.”

 Natalie Goldberg



Frances Booth is founder of Here are some words, a business providing expert writing and editing services

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Comment by chris on August 9, 2012 at 6:01am


My memoir is about growing up in the working class suburb of Fitzroy (Melbourne, Australia) during the late 1950's and 1960's; from the ages 7-14. I'm working on the second draft now and it will probably take another 2-3 drafts before it is publishable. Hopefully I can get the second draft completed by the end of the year. At this stage all I can share is a couple of tips:

1. If you have the passion to write - write
2. If you have a story to tell - tell it


Comment by Olivia Munoru on August 8, 2012 at 2:26pm

Thanks Chris. I love Frances' ideas because she encourages us to overcome fears - those fears that are so unhelpful!

So what are your memoirs about? WOuld you share with us a small excerpt perhaps? Something that can inspire others to write and share?

Cheers and have a glorious day.


Comment by chris on July 16, 2012 at 8:05am

Good tips for writers block and I like Natalie's quote also.

When I'm working on my memoir during my early morning writing sessions and occasionally get stuck I just keep writing without thinking about the quality of the piece. I know I can always come back and polish it later.

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