The Imaginary Things Holding You Back | The Blank Page

The emotions behind these things are real, but the things themselves are not.

The Blank Page is a new weekly series on Novelty Revisions dedicated to any writer who is just beginning their journey or starting again after a long pause. Check back every Monday for more tips and inspiration.


Every writer has the chance to reach their full potential. To accomplish great things. To publish words that change lives … and maybe even the world.

Many don’t ever reach their greatest achievements. Not because they don’t want to, but because they give in to their biggest barriers and never manage to get past them.

Here are some of the most common “imaginary” roadblocks and how to overcome them.

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‘Lazy’ Writers Exist — That Doesn’t Mean You’re One of Them

As an editor, I’ve worked with plenty of writers who very obviously don’t want to do the work. There are also writers who try very hard, but are clearly overworked and overwhelmed.

I don’t generally like using the word “lazy” to describe people I don’t know.

But the more writers I work with as an editor, the more I realize that even if writers themselves aren’t lazy people, lazy writing and lazy writing habits DO exist. And they’re an absolute nightmare for the person on the receiving end of the Word document in charge of preparing something for publication.

There are actually pretty obvious differences between “lazy” writers and writers on the other end of the spectrum — those who have worked so hard in such a short amount of time that what I’ll call “silly” errors just sort of … happen.

Just because writers make mistakes doesn’t mean they’re lazy. But certain mistakes are … and trust me, your editor isn’t oblivious to which category you might fall into.

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12 Writing Rules All New Beginners Must Follow

4. Write what you know … until you get comfortable enough to start writing about what you don’t know.

1. When you encounter a new idea, run with it. See where it goes. Don’t hesitate. Just start writing.

2. Write on a set schedule. Not every day, not even every other day. But do have a plan and stick to it. You will never improve if you don’t practice consistently.

3. Don’t use a dictionary. Write using words you know and understand. It’s how you develop your own original style. You can always go back and edit later.

4. Write what you know … until you get comfortable enough to start writing about what you don’t know.

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10 Tips for Eliminating Not-so-Obvious Writing Distractions

4. Stop checking your word/page count. Don’t worry about it. Just keep writing.

1. Separate your research/learning/”get hyped” time from your actual writing time.

2. Close your character sketches, your dictionary, your style guide, all your writing tools except the ones you use to physically write. All the other materials are for rewrites and editing. Focus on writing the rough draft first.

3. Don’t eat while you write! I know, I know, it’s your go-to thing. But even when you’re mindlessly reaching for food while thinking, it’s still slowing you down.

4. Stop checking your word/page count. Don’t worry about it. Just keep writing.

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10 Pointless Writing Habits to Drop If You Want to Save Time

2. Setting writing goals that are too big/ambitious.

1. Obsessing over doing anything related to writing the “right” or “wrong” way. The only way we learn what works best for us is by trying different things. There is no “one way.”

2. Setting writing goals that are too big/ambitious. You should push yourself, but not to the point of forcing yourself into a state of overwhelm/anxiety. If you have to set small goals, even just for today, set small goals.

3. Refusing to use anything other than your “go-to” writing tool — e.g., if you don’t have your laptop with you, you won’t write. Learn to write anywhere, with anything.

4. Insisting on writing everything in order from start to finish. If you feel inspired to write something but it doesn’t belong in your next sentence … skip your next sentence for now. Nothing is going to break.

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The Energy You Spend on Writing Only Goes So Far

You’ve probably heard some variation of the idea that each of us has our own finite amount of daily energy that we can spend on various tasks.

You’ve probably heard some variation of the idea that each of us has our own finite amount of daily energy that we can spend on various tasks.

Writers and other creators have the added complication of having to figure out how not to spend all their energy on the “essential” activities of their days to leave some left over for writing.

It’s OK if you’re not very good at this.

It turns out many of us aren’t. But here’s how you can try.

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12 Things to Tell Your Past Writer Self

4. Don’t wait for feedback to pursue a story idea. Just start chasing it.

1. As long as you keep writing, you will always, in some way, keep improving.

2. Comparing your writing to others’ writing only sets you up for disappointment.

3. Just because no one tells you your writing is good doesn’t mean it isn’t.

4. Don’t wait for feedback to pursue a story idea. Just start chasing it.

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Are Your Writing Goals Too Ambitious? | The Blank Page

Sometimes when we shoot for the stars we unintentionally set ourselves up for disappointment.

The Blank Page is a new weekly series on Novelty Revisions dedicated to any writer who is just beginning their journey or starting again after a long pause. Check back every Monday for more tips and inspiration.


A writer should always strive to produce the best work they can manage.

But sometimes we take this advice too far. We often take it to mean that a writer should work themselves nearly to death to get ahead or achieve what they want.

That’s not what anyone should be taking away from this. You probably already know that. So here’s how you can encourage yourself to improve without pushing yourself so hard that you just don’t want to write anymore.

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Should You Keep Working on a Writing Project If You Think It’s Terrible?

When is quitting justified as a writer?

If you’re working on a project and you feel it’s just not going as well as you’d hoped … should you give up and move on to something else?

Answers will vary for everyone and for specific situations. But here’s a perspective that might help: If you’re moving on because you genuinely don’t think something is worth your time and you’re completely uninterested, you’re not necessarily in the wrong.

But if you’re quitting simply because you’re facing a challenge and don’t know how to overcome it … you should think twice before you close the document. Here’s why.

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12 Reminders for Writers Who Aren’t Even Close to Halfway Through Their 2020 Goals

1. It’s 2020. That’s it. That’s the list. (It’s not!)

1. It’s 2020. That’s it. That’s the list.

2. Sometimes when we set goals, we aim high — maybe, occasionally, a little too high. If a goal is too steep to reach, not being able to reach it isn’t a sign of failure. You simply need to adjust your goal.

3. And on that note? Sometimes we just set too many goals. You can’t do everything all the time. And that’s OK.

4. Everyone gets distracted. Sometimes it’s a sign you need to let yourself take a break, even a short one.

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