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Sitting at a blank screen

Sitting at a blank screen is a sure fire way to make you feel inadequate.

Your anxiety takes over, thinking about how the people you care about will judge you. And so you continue to sit there. Continue staring at the blank screen. Cursor blinking.

Cursor.

Blinking.

Yet you find yourself in a different world. One, where some of your worst nightmares have come true. Where your reputation is in tatters and you feel alone. Ever so alone.

You stare a little more. You get fidgety. Your unconscious is trying to escape the chair and leave your body behind. You are still there though, still staring.

Then, things take a turn. You get caught up in the hundreds of chores you could be doing instead. You notice a coffee stain on the desk that needs cleaning.

Your phone goes off. Quick. Check it. It could be an emergency.

Now you feel a little thirsty. Well, very thirsty. Your throat is dry. You're coughing up sand. Water, coffee, any liquid, please, God, now, make it stop.

You glance at your clock, and a few seconds have past since you sat down to write your masterpiece. You take a deep breathe and type some words:

"Sitting at a blank screen"…

Overcoming writer’s block

The truth is, I didn't sit down to write about writer’s block. No. I sat there, exactly as above. I stared into the void, waiting for some kind of inspiration to strike. For the metaphorical light bulb moment. The reality is, the lightbulb moment never came.

Instead of waiting for the magical moment to arrive, the pressure got too great. Instead of capitulating and giving up, I wrote about what was happening. What I was feeling. Writing those first words was enough to bring a flood of other words onto the page.

I lost the thought process and found flow.

Writer’s block is not a lack of things to say. It's an overriding anxiety that what you do have to say isn’t compelling enough. That your work will be judged into oblivion.

Overcoming writer’s block is the process of letting go. Forgiving those who you’ve misjudged. Accepting that what you have to say is just as worthy as the next person. Frankly, it’s just getting on with it.

Days after supposedly finishing this piece, I found myself there again. Watching the blinking cursor, going over the same old thoughts. This time it lasted half an hour. I reminded myself of these facts: I have plenty to say, not all of it good, some of it potential gold. Then, I started by writing down my perceived issues with writing today.

Moments later, you would find me writing at full pelt. Fingers at maximum workload as they struggle to keep up with what I wanted to say. So fast in fact, everything would be riddled with typos. So much for writer’s block.

It’s the same trick I’ve found that helps me get started with anything. Journaling, blogging, even programming. Getting something out of my head and onto paper opens the gates for the interesting stuff.

The point is simple. Writer’s block is something you can overcome by the act of writing itself. Write something. Anything.

Done that? Great. Now you can write whatever it is you want. It’ll be a whole lot easier.

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