Overcoming The Blank Page

I remember an article that Maria Popova shared on brainpickings.org about Facing The Blank Page. I have always found that the best way deal the ‘blank page’ is to just get started. That works for me, but what do you do about the challenge of the ‘blank page’ .. when you just don’t have any ideas, and it is not coming to you? What strategies can you use to overcome this?


While I was in the gym this morning, I listened to a recent podcast episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman. In this episode, she interviewed David Lee Roth. She asked him about his strategies for avoiding the ‘blank page’. He said that he was successful at avoiding the blank page by using ‘banking’.

This is not new. The strategy is that as you go through your day, record the things that inspire you. For example, maybe something a cap driver, or someone at works says. For David Lee Roth, that could become the title of a song.

I already do this. I like to use my  Watch or my iPhone to record flows of inspiration as they come to me. I often use the app Drafts by Agile Tortoise to record these thoughts or observations for processing.

I like to use ‘drafts’ for this on my Apple Watch. I keep the app as a ‘complication’ on my watch face (the red arrow points to the complication):


I often use ‘drafts’ to record audio as well as written ideas. Other times I just dictate an idea into ‘drafts’, like when I am working out at the gym.

The other place I record ideas is in  Notes. For example, I have a note for editorial ideas for this blog. If I see something I would like to share, I will add it to this note. How does this work?

Here is an example. I use lire (a full-text RSS reader) to read and process my RSS feed. Let’s say I find an article I want to write about in the future .. I open the sharesheet, select ‘Add to Notes’, and the save it to the right note. It looks like this:


That is enough of the mechanics of how I save ideas. I hope this helps with your process. The idea of ‘banking’ your ideas is very powerful. You can do the same thing with a pencil and paper. The key is to bank ideas when they come. It could be int he middle of the night, or while you are out with nature. The key is to take the action of logging them.

Enjoy, and start banking today!

~ Rick

Check out my vlog, which includes more of my photography and videography: tales.photos (on YouTube). Remember to like, comment and subscribe!

My photo blog can be found at tales.photos.

©2019 Rick Cartwright