Blank Page Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Blank Page Syndrome is an overwhelming sensation that plagues most students at one time or another and varies in intensity. It involves a lack of ideas or inspiration from which the person would develop their work.

Causes:

Lack of energy. When tired, your brain might just not want to go through the thought process needed in order to develop a coherent sentence, much less a paragraph. This would also include hunger, which could also lead to a lack of concentration.

Stress. If you have an increased amount of responsibilities (exams, work, family, etc.), you might not be able to focus on the task at hand.

Isolation. Not making time to spend with your peers might affect your creative streak as well as your mental health, which can bring about negative effects on your writing skills.

Lack of interest. If the topic you’re writing about doesn’t spark an interest, it could become increasingly difficult to find the push you need to write.

Environment. Maybe it’s too loud or too quiet. It could be too hot and you might feel uncomfortable and sweaty. If it’s freezing, your concentration could be focused on keeping you warm. Factors such as these could easily become a distraction which would prevent your brain juices to flow.

Lack of knowledge. Not knowing enough about the topic you’re writing about could result in not knowing what to write about it.

Symptoms:

People with Blank Page Syndrome typically describe it as feeling like they are:

  • Not made for writing.

  • Searching for someone to write the paper for them.

  • Stuck or unable to develop an argument worth exploring.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Staring at the page with no idea of how to start.

  • Writing and deleting a sentence over and over due to it not 'encapsulating’ what they want the paper to be about.

  • Procrastinating. Going on social media platforms and using them as a distraction. Could also be seen as doing other chores or activities in order to avoid writing in general.

 

Treatments:

Treatments for Blank Page Syndrome depend on what’s causing it. In many cases, Blank Page Syndrome goes away without any treatment. This is because your brain is able to adapt to the urgency of the task and force itself to focus enough to write.

For some, treatment is needed and may include:

Googling. Yep. Just searching for information about the topic could help spark an idea worth writing about.

Taking a break. Don’t confuse this with procrastinating. By grabbing a healthy snack or disconnecting from the paper for 10-15 minutes, you might start thinking about an angle you hadn’t thought about previously, aiding in the writing process. This could also help lower stress levels, which could help you focus.

Talking to someone. It could even be a stranger. Sometimes, explaining a topic to someone could help you figure out a way of how to express it on paper.

Move. If the place you’re in is distracting you, try finding an alternate location where you feel like you could concentrate.

If you suffer from Blank Page Syndrome, know that you are not alone. There are ways in which you can lessen and even erase these effects from your daily life and, if all goes well, move towards a healthier and more productive lifestyle.