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Overcoming fear f blank paper

Overcoming fear of blank paper

Overcoming fear of blank paper is something most of us have wondered how to do at some stage. We have sat in front of that blank sheet or screen, wondering what on earth to write and where to begin.

Some people find it easier to handwrite initially, others prefer the keyboard or tablet. It doesn’t matter which medium you use, just choose the one you feel most comfortable with. 

Switch on the light!

Perhaps you’ve been asked to write a job description or a difficult letter, a marketing strategy or business proposal, or simply summarise outcomes from brief (and now difficult to make sense of!) notes you made at a meeting? Time ticks by and you still haven’t written a thing!

But there’s no need to feel defeated by the blank paper (or screen) in front of you. Just start somewhere.

And it doesn’t have to be at the beginning! Jot down key points as they occur to you, then prioritise them. It’s amazing how soon the rest follows once you’ve made a start. It’s like switching on the light in a dark room – everything’s there, you just couldn’t see it all before.

Top and tail later on

Perhaps it’s a long document such as a marketing plan or business proposal? Here are a few ways to overcome any fear you may be feeling, faced with blank paper, while making the process easier –

  • Start by planning the outline, then fill in the main points for each topic. Use note form initially. You can bulk out the content later 
  • Always top and tail later on. Create headings, start and close lines as finishing touches, once you’ve dealt with all the content
  • If you’re stuck or lost for inspiration, go and get a coffee, make a phone call, or take a walk. When you come back, the ‘writer’s block’ should have cleared – you’ll feel more energised and motivated to finish the job
  • Always run what you’ve written past someone else – a colleague or other contact perhaps. They’ll spot the things you missed

Finally, there are some interesting thoughts on how to overcome fear of the blank page in  Douglas Eby’s blog How to overcome fear of the blank page which includes a link to a free e-book by Christine Kloser on How to Face the Blank Page with Confidence, Clarity and Courage.

You can find more quick tips to empower your writing here.


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