It happens sometimes. The challenge of the blank page. The dread the white paper or the blank screen fills you with as you stare just as blankly, trying to fill it with your next bestseller. The blank monster apparently had someone in its grip on Quora, and she wanted to know what to write. 'Don't just say write', she requested. Fair enough I thought as that piece of advice is as helpful as telling someone who wants to swim to just jump in the water. While it is not entirely useless, it is rather limited in scope. So I decided to help her out of her misery by quoting a passage (which I luckily remembered) from Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance where the author's past life character, Phaedrus, helps one of his students stuck on an essay about the US. 'Start with a city', he advises. When she comes up with nothing, he tells her to narrow it to a street in a city. When she still draws a blank, he tells her to write about a building. 'The brick on the top right', to be specific. Turns out that's just what she wanted to open the floodgates. The student comes back with a 5000 word essay the next day. She says she sat at a cafe opposite the building and started to write.
Sometimes that's where you need to start. With something minuscule and specific and work your way out of the monster's grip. You can always edit, trash it, start over but at least you are out of the block, so to speak. So start with a brick. Or a strand of hair. Or a drop of rain. Good luck.