30 Day Brainstorm Challenge – Day 16: The Blank Page

Challenge day 16

It’s day 16 of our 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge – The Blank Page

Is there anything scarier than the blank page?

I don’t think so. I’ve been staring at this page for the last couple of hours. Thoughts a jumble in my head. Not organized enough for video, not concrete enough to write out. Sigh. Then it occurred to me, apply the same concept that I would do if I were trying to start a presentation. Brainstorm my topic. I know, and the irony of the situation hasn’t eluded me. This is a brainstorm challenge – and I had to brainstorm this post.

As with any brainstorming exercise I begin, it all starts with post-it notes (I swear, they need to start paying me!) – writing down the thoughts that have stuck with me today.

  1. Doing what we’ve always done
  2. Trick questions
  3. Surprise ingredients
  4. It’s too dang hot

Then it’s about determining what is important to the audience. What do they need to know? People want help to do their jobs. They don’t want to sit through a class, or a hours on a webinar, or sift through policy manuals. What kind of information can I provide that will help people, help you? What topics make me think? All of these questions, pop into my mind while I’m sketching out ideas for any type of content I write.

It’s the dreaded the blank page, that holds me back. The blank page that stares back at you, mocking you with its blinking curser.  A strange kind fear that paralyzes the fingers. Fingers crouched over the keyboard, stuck in a clawed position – if I leave these fingers here, perhaps by some miracle, words will trickle out. If you are a writer, either a writer of training materials, elearning courses, guidebooks, regular books, blogs, newsletters…if you write you can feel my pain. It’s your pain too.


So, I continued with my brainstorming exercise and did come up with some solid thoughts that went to the list above. Thoughts that I’m going to save for another day after this challenge is completed. Why? Because I think the bigger message is how to lift yourself out of writers block. Jeff Goins writes that Writers block happens for a variety of reasons – fear, ego, impostor syndrome, creative drought, perfectionism – among others. What has always lifted me out, is reading other people’s work for inspiration. Not to lift their work, but to be lifted in spirit and mind. Then I turn to my friends, the sticky note. I let the colors guide me. The fact that they are temporary helps. I can move them, rearrange them, or throw them away if I want. I’m not held to the square. It’s tougher to throw away an idea when it’s typed into Word or Evernote. It feels more permanent. What helps me is to start with a temporary idea, which then hopefully, turns to permanence.

So for those of you participating in this challenge, and for those of you who want to participate don’t fear the blank page. Take back the blank page, and make it yours! Start with a little brainstorming. You made end up with a list, which leads to an real gem of an idea. Let the sticky notes guide you!



NO! It’s not too late to join! See the original 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge post here

See previous post: Day 15: Perseverance 

Check out the variety of participants and their challenge entries on the Learning Rebels Facebook page here

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Shannon Tipton

Shannon Tipton

As Owner of Learning Rebels, Shannon Tipton is a skilled learning strategist, content developer and International speaker. Shannon has over 20 years of leadership experience developing successful learning strategies and infrastructures for training departments within organizations in North America, Europe and Korea.

Shannon works with people and organizations to develop learning solutions that brings actual business results. Recognized as bringing real-world expertise into the learning field, Shannon integrates technologies and social learning tools to strengthen workplace alignment, enhance collaboration and increase learning connectivity.

As author of “Disruptive Learning” Shannon frequently speaking at conferences across North America and Europe and ranks as one of the top 100 L&D influencers on Twitter (@stipton).

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