How to Clobber the Blank Page Blues

Two men and a woman running a marathon through city streets

I remember cleaning my entire 6,000-square-foot house – including the garage and my car – just so I wouldn’t have to go to my office and face the blank screen on the computer!

Fortunately, the days of fearing the blank screen are over for me – and they can be for you, too … when you discover my secret for overcoming – and even preventing – writer’s block. And I’m going to share it with you right now!

The biggest mistake most new – and experienced –
writers make …

Ok, so let’s say you got an assignment to write a promotion for a nutritional product. You turn on your computer, open up your Word doc, and click on the new blank page document icon to get started. Instantly, a fresh, new, BLANK screen pops up.

Suddenly, you stare at that screen like a deer in headlights. Your mind goes blank … your heart rate speeds up … and you start hyperventilating.

The words just ain’t coming, and the negative tapes start playing in your mind: “You’re a fraud … a fake … you’ve bitten off more than you can chew … and you’re about to get busted!”

Sound familiar?

Here’s how you can overcome this dreaded fear …

Never start with a blank screen! Try this instead:

When you turn on the computer, DON’T click the new document icon! Instead, open up a file that contains a project you’ve already worked on.

If you don’t have an old project, then open up ANY document that already has words in it!

Then RENAME the file!

Guess what?

You’re no longer looking at a blank screen!

Now, if you’re working on a nutritional product, you know you’re going to need some standard elements for your package. After all, EVERY promotion needs an order form and a guarantee, right?

So, cut and paste an existing order form and guarantee from a previous project. Don’t worry, you’ll change the copy to make it more appropriate for the new client later. Hmm … what else?

Well, every promotion needs a headline, right?

So, on the top of the page, write in 24-point type: “Big, Freakin’ Headline Goes Here!”

Now, delete the old copy that was on the file – and guess what? You’ve still got about three pages of text, and you haven’t written a single word of NEW copy! But the best part is – you’ve beaten the blank page blues! But don’t stop there …

Let’s get some butter – ‘cause YOU’RE ON A ROLL …

Ok, now, you know every good package needs strong testimonials. So as you go through your research kit, find some interesting testimonials. Create a section in your copy that says “[Sidebar #? Testimonials]” and park those strong testimonials right there.

Don’t worry about tweaking the testimonials or writing headlines for them yet. You’re just adding guts to your soon-to-be kick-butt promo!

What else? Hmmm … special reports or premiums are also MUST HAVES in your promo!

Who cares if you don’t know what those reports are going to be about yet. You know you need ‘em, so make a spot for them in your copy. Say something like, “[Premium #1: this is my lead premium. Needs to tie in with my theme]. Make notations for the other 2 … 5 … or 7 premiums you plan to write. But wait a minute …

Don’t you dare forget about the early-bird premium! That’s going to make your prospect ACT NOW! Don’t worry if it’s going to be a “Call within 7 or 10 days” – you’ll figure that out later – just make some room for that important fast-response element right now!

You gotta be kidding me! Have you really “written” about
7 pages of copy already? You ROCK!

Keep this up and pretty soon, you’re going to have TOO MUCH copy – and you’ll need to edit it. That’s ok – editing is WAY easier than creating from scratch!

Do you get my point?

The best way to avoid the blank screen blues – is to NEVER start with a blank screen! Pure genius, right? But, as the saying goes, “Wait … there’s MORE” …

Here are a few more tips that can help keep your creative juices and words flowing:

  1. It’s not writer’s block – it’s a research deficiency! Most writers say they have writer’s block when the truth is, they haven’t done enough research to really understand their product and market.

    Don’t you DARE write a single word until you have something to say!

    Do your research – or hire a good researcher! Become an expert in the product. Many times, I become so knowledgeable about the product, I actually create the names for the new products!

    Talk to the doctor or authority figure for the product. Don’t leave any stone unturned!

  2. Don’t think linear! It amazes me when a writer tells me he can’t write the copy because he’s stuck on the headline. My reply, “MOVE ON, Dude!”

    Copywriting isn’t linear. If you’re stuck in one area – go on to another spot!

    For example, if the testimonials are really interesting and they excite you – start your package by writing the headlines for your testimonials! You’d be surprised how many times I uncover a theme or the main headline just from reading the testimonials!

  3. When you have nothing to say – STOP writing! Give yourself permission to take a break – or a nap!

    Do something that uses the analytical side of your brain so you give your creative side a break. Pull out a recipe book and make a new dish. Pay your bills.

    I like to take my 97-year old grandmother to Wal-Mart and watch her shop for the best value for her money! She’s an awesome penny pincher – and it’s amusing to see her debate over which brand of toilet paper to buy today!

    The bottom line is to get away from the computer and do something else. Here’s what I say to myself before my break, “Ok, Carline, you can stop now, but you need to think of a kick-butt headline while you’re shopping with Mama Da.”

    Most of the time, I get an idea or an inspiration when I’m NOT focusing on the problem!

Try these tips – and I guarantee you, too, will clobber the blank page blues – and write kick-butt copy in record time!

Here’s to creating success your way!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: October 6, 2008

8 Responses to “How to Clobber the Blank Page Blues”

  1. This makes a lot of sense! I'm going to try this.

    Sandy B

  2. Loved, loved, loved this article. Goes to show this writer's block thing is just a case of mind over matters in many cases and lack of research in most others : )


  3. A fear, lingering in my "sight picture" has forever been blown to bits . . . !!

    Van Gogh with a pen

  4. I had a "minor" case of writer's block this morning, realized that it was like a "minor" case of Corona-19 virus, made coffee, and wrote about that for 10 minutes and sold it as an article about how the pandemic has affected the worldwide coffee market!

    Richard Lacey

  5. Thank you so much Carline for sharing your secrets to beating the Blank Page Syndrome.
    I will use your tips for my final assignment long overdue Thank you Thank you


  6. Yes, the lost, frozen, unexplained blank blocks of ideas that occasionally happen sometimes need to be treated as it really is. A cry for fun! I will work hard and relentless at times and neglect myself. When a project is finished I will quickly dive into another, sometimes, not a good idea. So, have more fun people, you'll be glad you did.

    Guest (Treva)

  7. I will try that 24 point type
    " Big freakin' Headline Goes Here". I like that. Makes me think of stories. (Research deficiency) Very interesting concept. Thank you


  8. You're welcome! Glad the article helped motivate you! And if you haven't tried the tips yet - do it today!
    Have a great writing day!

    Guest (Carline)

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