“You can fix anything but a blank page.” Nora Roberts
How true! We’ve all been there at one time or another, haven’t we— staring at a blank page and wondering how to fill it? It’s both a wonderful and a worrisome feeling. Wonderful, because the possibilities of what that page might come to contain are endless. And worrisome because sometimes we just don’t feel the urge to write.
What to do? What to do? Here are three approaches that might help jumpstart your creative juices:
The “one true sentence approach.” Ernest Hemingway was fond of saying that if you feel stuck, just start writing and keep going until yo find the “one true sentence” — the gold nugget in the midst of all the dross. Then start with that sentence, cross the others out, and keep going. He also suggested stopping a writing session when you were “going good,” so the next day you’d have a great jumping off point.
The “random word” approach. Here’s a fun exercise that can warm you up and sometimes even give you the germ of a story. It’s a variation on the “prompt” strategy: Try picking up a dictionary or even a book and choosing three words at random. Jot them down on the top of a paper and then write for ten minutes or so and build a little story around them. You’ll be surprised what emerges! Sometimes it will prompt you to keep going and see where your imagination takes you. Or it can simply prove to you that you can pull something out of a hat and fill a page just by having fun.
The “fifteen-minute rule” approach. This is one of the most popular strategies my great friend and mentor Dr. Rob Gilbert* talks about on his Success Hotline. Simply decide that you are just going to write for 15 minutes. Just 15 minutes. You can even set a timer. Since it’s a law of physics that “a body in motion tends to stay in motion,” this can be a great way to get your mind moving across a page. Once you overcome your initial inertia, you’re more than likely to keep going. You can use this technique for just about anything: getting yourself to work out or to clean your office. “It’s the start that stops most people,” Rob wisely observes. Once we get started, we tend to keep going.
Three strategies to get your page party up and running — why not try one of them if you’re stuck, as we all write on!
*Check out “The Success Hotline Podcast” for more great strategies!
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