When You Get Past the Blank Page


Scanning the web for articles on writing it’s impossible not to come across advice on getting started. Mostly they talk about the blank page syndrome, where people become so intimidated it paralyzes them. For some staring a blank page is the hardest and scariest part about writing. I’ve never really had trouble starting. I think starting is easy, I’ve started writing tons things over the years. For me the hard part comes after I start. For a long time I had to push past the feeling that what I was getting down just wasn’t right. I’ve fallen into the trap of editing as I write which makes it even harder to complete. But in time I learned to continue and worry about fixing it up in the editing process.

The editing is whole other issue itself. That is where I can become stuck and the idea of a finished product can paralyze me. I’ve had a tons of work that after a rough draft they were left abandoned or even completely started over. It’s easier to give up than toil over something I’m not happy with. Unfortunately there are those times I can’t just give up, whether for school or work I have to turn in a finished product. And while I know all good writing needs several edits, I feel like I spend an excessive amount of time on it. I tend to get stuck trying to make it perfect, going over the same sentences over and over again. If one isn’t right how can the rest be. I have things I’ve written that I could continue editing forever and never really be happy with the finished product.

I don’t know when to stop and can’t decide when things are actually finished. When working on deadline, I usually just run out of time and have to hand in whatever I’ve done. Many times you’ll find me anguishing over it up until the last moment before I send it off. No matter what I write I end up obsessing over whether I should have changed a word here or there, added an extra comma somewhere, or even if I should have organized it differently. When I don’t have a deadline I usually just stop working on it when I’m tired of looking at it.

I always wonder how other people decide a piece of writing is done. I’d love to hear some thoughts on the subject from other. Let me know in the comments if you struggle with this too or if you have any advice on how to overcome the anxiety of finished a piece.

2 thoughts on “When You Get Past the Blank Page

  1. I’m not sure anyone feels done. I feel like good enough, must move on, but never done. Saw your post on google+ and it hit me perfect. I’m struggling with the road to get to the end. I’m down to the last 3 or 4 chapter and I know how it ends, but having a difficult time with the in-between to get me there. Thanks for the insightful post 🙂

    ~ Tam Francis ~

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