Writers, do you know how to overcome that blank page challenge?

Do you know how to start writing a new chapter?

Sometimes I do. So I was thrilled to find an oldie but goodie article by Darcy Pattison at Fiction Notes.

I recently arrived at chapter 8 of my WIP, and then blank page syndrome (BPS) hit with a vengeance. Even my well thought out outline couldn’t spark inspiration.

But thanks to Darcy, I got my mojo back and I’m plugging right along now. Then it occurred to me, I couldn’t be the only writer to suffer from BPS and that Y’all might have the same issue from time to time. If that’s the case, maybe her simple and practical tips will help you too.

What helped me move past blank page…

  • Use the senses. When putting myself in the protagonist’s shoes, reach out and think about what he is seeing, smelling, hearing, etc.
  • Add action. Now that I’ve identified what he senses, move him into an action. For instance, if he is smelling something: Smoke – runs from building or turns off oven.
  • Start with dialogue. Get conversations going. I can always add something before that later.

Reminders to consider when writing a new chapter…

  • Waking up. Although this is a basic no-no, again it’s okay to get the juices flowing and can be changed in the final draft.
  • Backstory. This can get boring but again, I can cut in the end. Just write.
  • Dull vocabulary. Don’t bore the reader in the first paragraph, after all my goal is to keep them reading through to the next one.
Are you ever intimated when beginning a new chapter? 
Does an outline inspire you to start the next chapter?
When hit with a case of BPS, how do you overcome?
Any cure tips you can share for BPS?

 

Get inspired to turn a blank white page into ribbons of black. Take a minute and read Darcy’s post.

Starting a New chapter: Defeating the Blank Page By Darcy Pattison

Want another good writing article? Keep reading. 

8 Ways to Write a 5-Star Chapter One By

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15 thoughts on “Writers, do you know how to overcome that blank page challenge?

  1. If I’m real stuck walking outside can be a double edged sword. It can help clear my mind and maybe inspire something, but can also be a distraction. When it’s cold it makes me come back in with a somewhat more clear head!

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      1. Haha the cold mainly helps me to come back in because I really like walking so a little walk to clear my head can take up a big part of my day if I let it! Sometimes I jot things down on a notes app while walking. And under a blanket, you can still use a phone, tablet or laptop? By the way – timer has not worked for me ha. So on the opposite side of spending too much time writing… I am sooo bad at actually setting it. I more so just look at the time…but only when I start. So not really a timer ha. I need one that yells at me like stop writing or procrastinating! And one that yells at me to start writing. Both are hard when you don’t have someone else really paying attention to how long you take. Or when you start or when you finish. Having to be your own boss and time keeper is well hard ha.

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          1. Hahah I don’t know about a physical one…but I bet there’s an app. Or I’ll set my alarm saying labels like go do whatever I need to do ha. That doesn’t work because well there’s snooze… and I ignore it hahha. If I find an app or other time that yells at you, I’ll let you know. That would help me haha. Unless it has snooze.. I know there are some apps that will block out certain sites during some times (or block out the internet entirely but I always think but I neeeeeed the internet so that’s how I found those others). I haven’t tried one yet… but will let you know if I do. Or you can use parental controls hahah.

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          2. I stumbled upon this article and thought you may be interested – https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/269991. Admittedly I need to check them out… I am thinking of TopTracker since its free. I am worried what it will show me with the productivity ha. stop stumbling on random articles and do something – productivity = 0.
            if staring at a blank page my productivity really hits 0. on days i am good about it…i at least write a few words in a basic outline – just like the headers and nothing too amazing but they are more a placeholder i suppose to get me started and that i can change later.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’ve started using Scrivener to track how many words I manage to write in one sitting. This has helped but I still can’t stop myself from editing as I write. Thus write 500 delete 300, sigh. Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Editing is always what kills me. I can write fast but then I do the same. I see typos in blogs and articles so sometimes I try to limit my editing by reminding myself it’s not unusual for there to be a few hiccups here and there. And those can take me forever to fix if I do not limit myself. Or I’ll edit later in the day/next day when maybe my head is a bit more clear from whatever I wrote. I’d be nervous to see how many words I write that turn into the final product per hour! Some days are easier than others. Sometimes I think it’s about 50 an hour ha.
                Oh well… we aren’t the only ones with writers block or writing difficulties. Hasn’t every writer had at least some?

                Liked by 1 person

  2. “Backstory. This can get boring but again, I can cut in the end. Just write.”
    I think this is the key to BPS! Even if what you end up writing in the first few moments (or even the first whole draft) isn’t what you want, if you start writing, you’ll keep writing, and the story will get better and better. I heard from an artist somewhere that there’s this pen that all artists (and writers) have. In the pen is a lot of stuff. Most of it is great! But right at the tip of the pen is a little bit of awful that has to come out before you can get to the good stuff. So start writing, get the junk out, and then get to the good parts.
    Lovely post, and great reminders! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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