The Blank Mind

Many writers stare at the blank page or clean computer screen and wait for inspiration with a feeling of hopelessness. That white page or screen is always a struggle to fill, and it probably will always be for most writers.

Writing is fatiguing work because it is the source of great stress, great concentration, great thought, and a great expenditure of energy-mental, emotional, and physical.

Writing is stressful because it requires the writer to be aware that others will read what one writes and thus pass judgment on it. Writing is stressful when ideas and thoughts will not come to fill that blank page. Writing is stressful if the writer feels that he must write and yet cannot write. Writing is stressful because the writer is never sure of how effective the composition will be.

Writing requires thought. The writer must think of many elements as he writes: grammar, syntax, topic, theme, punctuation, spelling, and all the other factors that are required for effective, useful, and favorable writing whether it is fiction or non-fiction. In addition, this rational process must happen simultaneously as words are put to paper or screen.

Because thought requires concentration, and concentration requires effort, and effort requires discipline, the writer is under a great deal of pressure when he or she is working to express an idea in the most effective way. Writing is never easy although it may be easier at one time and not at another.

With all these impediments to conquering the blank page or screen, what must a writer do? The writer must start writing one word at a time until the flow comes, and then the page or screen can be dominated-not easily-but it can be controlled.

With its filling, the agony diminishes.

Charles O. Goulet had a BA in English literature. He has published several novels that are available from,, and many other online bookstores.

His website is:

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