You know the feeling… – staring at a blank page for what seems like hours and hours without finding the ‘inspiration’ to get started. Argh! – there is not much worse and more intimidating than a blank page of paper (or, more likely, you’re looking at a text doc.). Whether you are trying to write a news article, an inspired travel recommendation, or some engaging content for your new website to draw in visitors, the frustration is the same.
Write content – That very first sentence
That very first sentence sometimes just won’t seem to materialize, however much you try to rearrange and combine individual words. Often, you will find that this is because you have unwittingly assigned way too much importance to it – or at least at this very early stage. The best way of overcoming this is to simply SKIP IT! For now, write a half sentence of keywords, perhaps just write “bla-bla-bla..” or “…..” – which means that whatever your first sentence or paragraph is, expect to change it! A good rule of thumb is that you’ve got to start somewhere, and the best place is not always the beginning!
Your main point
If instead, you try to reverse your thinking and, first of all, try to pin down what you want to get at – i.e. your main point, or conclusion perhaps – then you will soon find it much easier to put down some words on that blank sheet – even if those words are in fact a lead-in to your conclusion, or fragments of sentences somewhere in the middle of what will end up becoming your final text.
Writing will lead to more writing
Most often, a good article evolves as you write it, and even while it might be difficult sometimes to get that “train of thought” process going, the key is to make it happen. This is because, invariably, writing will lead to more writing, while leaving that page blank will take you nowhere. Do it now! Write!.. – the faster you can get a lot of words down, the more time you will have for editing, proofreading, and perhaps adjusting for SEO purposes later.
To help yourself get started, try to make it very clear to yourself:
- Who am I addressing?
- What do I want to tell them?
Your reader is as blank as the sheet of paper
Assume that your reader is as ‘blank’ on knowledge of the subject as the sheet of paper and start explaining. You can always go back to you first paragraph, and that dreaded first sentence, to adjust and come up with a catchy lead-in.
The next time you have trouble getting that first sentence onto a blank page:
- Skip it! (write “bla-bla..”)
- Start somewhere else, perhaps with you main point or conclusion
- Get writing! …and you will soon see it leads to more writing
- Edit! …and suddenly that first sentence will “present itself”