The White Blank Page: Why Writers Find Writing So Difficult

It’s been an ongoing trend on Twitter, where writers express their love-hate relationship for writing — and thousands of people seem to agree. One tweet says, “I love being a writer, but it’s also a little bit like being a loser,” and it got 11,000 likes. Given this large number of engagement, it seems that a lot of writers agree on that sentiment.

It’s a task that they power through, constantly struggling with writer’s block and procrastination. Even an established Broadway playwright, Paul Rudnick, expresses that “[Writing] is a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.” For some writers, their sudden inability to write is paralyzing as they stare at a blank white page, waiting for the words to come.

Some say this “inability to write” stems from self-doubt and the fear of producing something not good enough — that the thing they are about to write is great until they put it on paper. Psychology Today talks about sitting down, starting the writing process, and initiating the “flow,” which is basically what happens when ideas are uninhibited, and they just keep coming. After this is the hard part: the writer must stay in their seat and continue writing, no matter what.

This is the grueling process that writers have to endure, but writers also accept that because of this, their skills are constantly challenged and honed. As artists, they have to continue being better, and they might have to remind themselves of a couple of things:

  1. Writing is in the editing

The purpose of the first draft is to get it written. This is why freewriting is essential. For one, it activates the “flow,” and it allows the brain to explore ideas that may not be initially there. During freewriting, the writer is not concerned with anything — only to write things down. After the first draft, the writer revisits it and sifts the ideas that are essential to the work as well as go through grammatical errors. The first draft may be bad, but with enough revisions, it can turn into a masterpiece.

  1. Double-check before submitting the manuscript

Sure, writers may be beating the deadline after waiting for two weeks before sitting down to write the first word, but they should always check for grammatical errors before submission. Good grammar proves credibility. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Professionals with fewer grammar errors in their [LinkedIn] profiles achieved higher positions.” They are also more likely to be promoted. To ensure that manuscripts are near-perfect, web application developers have created extensions that help with grammar corrections. Some examples are Grammarly, Ginger, and Hemingway.

Writing requires so much brainpower. Whether it is your passion or not, it is not impossible to overcome. If you have an idea that needs to come to fruition, remember to sit down and write with no regard for rules. When it gets hard, a writer must not falter and use it as an excuse to magically accomplish chores. This dedication — this powering through — is the beginning of a masterpiece.

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