A fresh page can be scary. That is, it can be scary when you are a writer confronted with one. That’s ok. All you have to do to conquer it is to write something on it. Write anything, it can be just the date and time, the way I start my journal entries, or it could be just the single word, ‘hi’. The worst thing you could do is to run away from it. Sit and look at it. Then place pen to paper, or fingers to keys and make words. If you are really stuck, you can try the typing exercise, “The quick red fox jumped over the lazy brown dog.” It is nonsense, of course, but your goal is to get started writing.
Once you start the words coming, they start coming easier and easier. It may take time. It’ll definitely take practice, but eventually you will get the words flowing. It helps if you have some idea of what you want to write about, some topic or theme. If you don’t, it’s harder, that’s all. I keep a list of topics for my blog that I use to create them. Sometimes they arise spontaneously – when I’m confronted by that blank piece of virtual paper. Then I sit and contemplate it, for a while. Diving in after that, I get something. It isn’t always worth sharing, but it’s something.
That’s the best way to handle writing sometimes, just dive in, and start writing. Other times, it’s better to have some idea of the topic you want or need to cover. It’s fun to have one suddenly pop out of your head and onto the page. I like those surprises.
It’s not so much fun when you get a good beginning and can’t find an ending to match it. It’s even worse when the ending is great but doesn’t match the beginning. That means you have to work at the middle. That’s the case where you have a great beginning, a wonderful ending, and no real sense of how you got from one to the other. That’s the writing process though. You can’t always turn out a perfect first draft. Perfect first drafts are rare things. What you get from most published authors are what they made of the crap their minds produced in the first draft – when they were staring at that blank piece of paper, virtual or otherwise. They dove in and they wrote. They wrote about wondrous things. They wrote about mundane things. They even wrote about the macabre.
The point is that they wrote something. It’s vital to write something when you need to write. If you have a term paper to write and don’t have a clue where to start, list the topic, the number of words that you need for the assignment, just sit there and plan the research that you may have to do. It doesn’t matter, just start writing and the words will come.
So the next time you need to write something and can’t find the words. Take a minute or four to sit and contemplate the page. Then dive in with something stupid. You never know when something stupid will lead to something marvelous. You won’t know until you dive in. So come on in, the writing’s fine.