When Words Don’t flow. Conquering the Blank Canvas

Have you ever had the challenging and frustrating experience of facing a blank page and a soon-to-crash-on-you deadline?

Have you ever thought that there’s nothing more complicated than writing? Have you ever felt unmotivated before an assignment?

Is your brain a white, dense fog? No coherent ideas; the I’m-not-good-enough feeling?

Are you suffering from the I’ll- never-be-able-to-finish-on-time syndrome?

Here’s what to do

  • Think about what you want to achieve with your content. Then work around these goals.
  • Set aside a specific time each day to write.
  • Or, plan to produce five hundred words each session.
  • Break the project down into smaller chunks and set targets for each part.

And now, go!

  • Start your research. While doing this, refrain from letting websites you come across gobble you up.
  • Send your phone to the guest room.
  • Do not, I repeat, do not check your mail.
  • Fido? Guest room. especially when he believes sitting on a chair with papers all over means playtime.
  • Outline or mindmap your content. You only have to fill in the gaps.
  • Focus.

Be nice to yourself.

  • Get a thermos of coffee—better two. Hoard chocolate. Lots! Both are magic.
  • Take a break now and then: listen to music or podcasts; read a few pages of your favorite book; eat popcorn while watching ONE episode of Emily in Paris; or take a walk with Fido and his favorite toy (crucial).
  • Plan for this. Make sure it appears on your calendar as “downtime.”

These moments are as important as the work itself. We keep pushing them away because we rush to finish something. Most of the time, having gaps in your day to rest can clear your head, and you’ll return to your work inspired and energized.

Your writing will flow faster. I guarantee that.


Get a pal.

Find an accountability partner—someone (or a group of “someones”) who can help you stay motivated. I love @Matt Barker’s strategy of having a Board of Directors (BOD).

Writing is a solitary activity. It involves a lot of emotional investment and grappling with our internal demons, so surrounding yourself with like-minded souls is a plus. Feedback and checking on each other can be game-changing and make life easier for you.

And now, the final curtain

Never send in your first text. I am guilty of this. In a rush to arrive on time for a deadline, I edit on the spot. Don’t. Let it sleep for a few hours before editing because distance is crucial. After you give it a first revision, ask your accountability partner(s) to have a look, review it once more, and get some sleep.

Rinse and repeat. I do this three or four times with everything I write. This post has been marinating for two days, and this is the fourth revision. Oh, dear!

Some more “pearls of wisdom.”

  • Journaling helps keep your brain churning. This is a great strategy. You say what you want. No editing. Throw in your thoughts about whatever you’re working on, your plans, and what you are trying to achieve with a particular piece. That can lead to other ideas for crafting another piece of content. Ultimately, writer’s block has much to do with not knowing what to say and the fear that comes with it.
  • Read consistently. Other people’s content is an excellent source of ideas. Take notes when one or two pop up. Memory is fickle.
  • Use ChatGPT to brainstorm ideas. Just write a prompt about a topic you’re interested in and hit enter.

And that’s how you conquer a blank canvas.




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