5 tips to help you fight the white screen

by | Jul 26, 2022 | Writing tips

It used to be that writers would be sent crazy by the empty lines on a notepad or in a book or the white paper hanging out of a typewriter. Nowadays, writers are tortured by a blank white screen and a blinking cursor. Any writer who has suffered any form of writer’s block knows the torture of a blinking cursor and a white screen.

So what do you do when you just can’t seem to start writing? Here are 5 of my tips to help you get past the stress of seeing a white screen.

5 tips to fight the white screen as a writer

Writing doesn’t always come naturally, even to writers like myself. One of my favourite authors is Stephen King, one of the most prolific writers on the planet, and even he has been stung by writer’s block. King’s advice to help other writers get out of a slump of writer’s block:

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: Read a lot and write a lot.”

Whilst this is excellent advice, especially for someone like King. He can devote all his time to reading and writing; some of us need to get things done quickly. Whether it be a blog for our website, a new sales page or an email to a client, there is always something asking us to dig into the writer within; sometimes, we just can’t do it. Here are five fast and easy things you can do to kick yourself into gear if that white screen is scaring you.

1. Go easy on yourself

Relax! The more pressure you put on yourself, the harder it will be to complete whatever writing task you’re trying to complete. It doesn’t matter if the task in front of you is big or small; the white screen can be daunting, and the only way to move past that is to release the pressure. If you put too much pressure on yourself, you’ll end up in paralysis, and nothing will get done.

2. Distract your mind with menial tasks

Need to tidy up your desk? Do some dishwashing? Or put a load of washing on? Go do some smaller tasks utterly unrelated to the job you’re trying to get done in front of that bright white screen. Doing something else will engage a different part of your brain and allow the creative part you’re trying to access the space to try and formulate some words.

3. Do something fun!

Woman of colour listening to music to help her get over the fear of the white screen

Do something that will trigger happy hormones. Get up and have a solo dance party, put on your favourite song, or watch a funny YouTube or cute cat video. Play a game on your phone or computer, even a game of solitaire (does anyone do that anymore?). Do anything that will bring you even a little joy! Triggering these happy hormones will help to cancel out any stress hormones that may be bubbling up due to the pressure you may feel with the white screen in front of you.

4. Take a break

Go for a walk, take the dog, get outside, or do anything other than stare at your computer screen. Not only will it be good exercise, which produces endorphins, but it’s also good for your eyes and gives them a break from the blue light of your screen. Getting up and away from your computer will release a little of the pressure you may be feeling from the white screen and help you reset, ready to attack the task at hand.

5. Just write!

Just start writing, free-flow. Let whatever is inside your head out! I have found that just writing gibberish helps get the cobwebs off my brain for the more important writing tasks I need to do. So open up a new document or pull out a notepad, whichever way you write best, and get writing. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar, or even if you can read what’s written. You just want to make the white screen not white somehow. You need to let loose what’s running through your brain until it stops running, and you can focus on what you need to focus on.

I hope these tips help you the next time that dreaded white screen scares the crap out of you. I know writing on a blank page can be daunting, but in the end, it’s often part of the job and finding ways to support you will help. Even the greatest writers in the world have these fears and often have the largest expectations put on them, but they find ways to get things done, so you can too.

If you’re wondering what you should write about, check out how to do keyword research.


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