Here I sit at 2 minutes past midnight with a blank screen in front of me and no idea what to write about. Who is my target audience? Well, in a case like this – nobody I guess. It is highly unlikely that this article will appeal to anyone unless I can focus and get some direction. So, let me see where to go from here.
Blank Screen Syndrome
There are many theories and smart pieces of advice available on the web explaining what to do when you suffer from that dreaded writer’s block. Some of the classic problems are:
You cannot come up with an idea
Wow, sounds just like my situation. – I have absolutely no idea what to write, my screen is blank and I am deleting text as fast as I type it. This is where I am supposed to step back and write something trivial to get the ideas going again. Yeah, right. At 6 minutes past midnight my head is screaming for sleep and I am going cross-eyed. I should be off to bed, but I am determined to complete the assignment tonight.
All the ideas peter out
Oh yes, here we go again. Just when I thought I had a really cool idea all sorted out I lose interest or realise that no target audience in the world will be interested in it. Another idea dies a silent death only to be replaced by the next even crazier one. This is going to be a long night.
I have an outline but cannot expand on it
At last, things are starting to fall into place. My article has an outline, but whatever I try, the article will not stay on track. The outline is faulty and I do not know how to fix it without a major re-write. Worse still, I have two peaks in my article and I do not know how to get from one to the other. – Off to the bin we go.
If nothing works on paper do some physical exercise
I read somewhere that physical exercise is a sure way to get fresh blood flowing to the brain and this may stimulate the creative juices. Well, I can go for a walk or hit the treadmill. However, neither option appeals to me right now. This is Africa and you do not go walking around alone at this time of the night, well not unless you have a death wish. That leaves the treadmill then. Hmm, this will be fun! I can just imagine the look on my daughters face after being woken by our rather noisy treadmill.
I found a very helpful diagram produced by New York Book Editors (www.nybookeditors.com) that explains how to solve this terrible problem and will make use of it in future. It is too late for me to salvage anything more constructive than I already have.