By Madeleine Eno

A blank page does one of two things to a writer: Creates a wonderful sense of possibility or brings on the paralyzing panic and self-doubt: “What do I possibly have to say?” Those who relate to the former can stop reading now. But for the rest of you, here are four simple ways to dive deep, find juice, and express a lot more you in your writing.

Just Show Up. This afternoon, I let out my rain-hating dog to do her business. Finn gingerly took a few steps and squatted in the herb garden, a look of distaste on her face. But once there, she began sniffing all the smells and inspecting bugs; she didn’t want to come back in. And so it is with writing. It can be as daunting as peeing in an icy downpour, but when you show up, even for a moment, you start to connect and really see the landscape around you. Daunted? Try setting a timer and putting pen to notebook for just five minutes. The same old demons are going to block you until you face them. So just face them. Write through them. It’s only five minutes and there is so much to discover on the other side.

Say It Out Loud. I grew more and more frustrated with a disconnected-feeling piece I was working on not long ago. I wanted it to sparkle and I followed an urge to whisper it to my Nano. Played back, my boring tale made me chuckle a little and I re-engaged with it. When you speak to an enthusiastic listener, your filter disengages. You more freely describe things, you let it rip, you stir up the juice. Try telling your story aloud—to a digital recorder or a sympathetic friend—and see if it’s not a little richer. (Note: Bored or preoccupied friends don’t work well for this exercise.)

Use “I Remember.” Whether you’re writing a newsletter article on how to find a good lawyer or blogging about managing nest eggs, try this. Start with “I remember.” “I remember when I decided to go to law school” or “I remember the day I saved enough money to buy a car.” Nothing is more compelling than your own story and these two words take you straight to your true self. When I talk to the young kids I teach about abstract things like lying or bullying, I see them promptly zone out. But if I use the magic phrase “I remember when I was little…” they are hooked like trout. It works for grownups, too.

Go There, Even If You’re Not Ready. So, you think your writing chops aren’t quite up to speed. That’s ok. You’re in fine company. Try this: Journal for 10 minutes on “What I would write about if I didn’t have this fear?” and see what unfolds. When one of my coaching clients did this, the skeleton of her entire memoir tumbled out in a few minutes—it’s what she is using to (successfully) write her book.

The miracle of writing is that all the juice you’ll ever need to fill any blank page is inside you right now. Waiting only for you to come find it.

For more information about Madeleine’s work as a coach, editor, writer and teach visit