The End Draws Near

There are just four days left until the deadline for submissions to the 2023 USYD Anthology. We’ve received so many wonderful stories and poems so far, but we’re still on the hunt for more writing that will blow us away. We’ll be welcoming submissions until 31 August, so it’s not too late to polish off that story that’s been collecting cobwebs in the old, forgotten folder on your desktop (we know it’s there).  

In previous blog posts we’ve provided a plethora of writing prompts and inspiration, so you should be set on that front. But what do you do when you have a great idea but the words just aren’t flowing? Let’s take a look at some strategies to help cure writer’s block and break the curse of the blank page. 

Observe your writing space 

We all know that person whose desk is covered in a layer of sticky notes, with pens scattered about and books piled to dangerous heights. Maybe you’re that person. If your desk is in disarray, then so too will be your mind. Take a moment to observe your surroundings and reflect on how they make you feel. Do the piles of papers on your desk, some dating back to 2017, stress you out? Then it’s time for a trip to the recycling bin. Are your pens all in disarray? Then it’s time to purchase a pen stand. Decluttering your workspace is one way to start decluttering your mind. 

Try writing by hand 

I’ve always had to battle against the curse of the blank page. Whenever I see an empty Word document, my mind seems to shut down and the creative juices refuse to flow. The only way I’m able to overcome this is by reverting to the tools of old – the humble notebook and pen. Typing on a keyboard may be efficient, but writing by hand allows you to think more thoroughly about what you are putting on the page. It’s this slower, more methodical technique that has helped me write more thoughtfully to create the stories that I am truly proud of.   

Go for a walk 

When all else fails, there’s no harm in going for a walk. Not only will the fresh air help clear your head and re-energise you, but being out in nature is a fantastic way to inspire creativity and generate new ideas. You might just find that, by the time you’ve finished your walk, the plot hole that so stumped you before has resolved itself.  

Just write 

Just start writing. This may seem the most obvious solution to writer’s block, but it’s also sometimes the hardest to do when everything that you’re writing seems to be rubbish. But don’t be discouraged; there are always nuggets of gold scattered within the rubbish, and it’s these nuggets that make a great story. Remember, no-one else has to read the dodgy first draft. So write like nobody’s watching. 

There are so many more tips that can help you write the perfect story, but the above are the ones that I know, by personal experience, work. Now you should have no excuse not to submit a short story or poem to our 2023 Anthology. Our deadline for submissions is 31 August, so sit down at your tidy desks, get out your notebook and pen, and just write.  

Submit your work here.