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Barriers To Blogging - #3 - The Tyranny of the Empty Page

empty pageCertainly one of the barriers to blogging is simply this:
You have to START writing an article/post.

You can have ideas floating around endlessly inside your head. You can talk about ideas with people. Write the ideas down on scraps of paper, or in a Moleskine-type notebook, or in an online tool like Evernote. You can collect all the ideas you want.

But until you start the article, those ideas are simply that. Ideas. Fragments. Unformed. Incomplete.

It is that act of beginning that can be the hardest.

Writing the first sentence. Starting the process of taking those half-baked ideas and forging out of them a whole. Taking the fragments and figuring out which fit together well, which need to be simply discarded and which should be put aside for another day.

But it starts with a sentence. With a word, really.

Turning a blank window into one with content.

Even perhaps before that with an action. Opening up your blog editor (my weapon of choice, MarsEdit, is pictured on the right) or logging into WordPress and clicking "New Post". Or opening up your mobile app... or website admin panel... or whatever tool or window you use to actually write your posts.

Starting the process of creating a post.

And then from there... committing yourself by entering the first words.

Most of the time once I have the window open this is easy for me. Sometimes it is in fact trivial. Text springs from my brain, sometimes even fully-formed and my hands become almost as a channel for flowing in the words and thoughts that are exploding out of my brain.

Other times it is not so easy. I struggle with how to begin the post... or sometimes I'm already thinking - and struggling with - how to end the post. Sometimes a story arc is immediately clear to me and the post almost writes itself. Sometimes no narrative arc is clear... and very often posts do evolve on their own even as I write them.

And sometimes... sometimes... that blank window stares back at me... mocking my inability at that moment to turn ideas into prose... taunting me with its emptiness. Perhaps I'll have a title... but what comes next isn't clear.

That's rare for me, but it does happen. Usually I put the idea aside for a while... or alternatively, and this may sound bizarre, I crank some heavy metal/hard rock music and let my brain wander for a bit.[1]

The key is simply to... start.

Start somewhere... anywhere... write sentences... write paragraphs... you can always edit away later.

But you need to... start!

[1] Bizarrely, but perhaps it hearkens back to my growing up in the 70s and 80s, I've found that the Scorpions do wonders to help me move through writer's block. :-)

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