The blank page is a daunting thing for many, especially if you sit staring at it. But I think that's because we writers know the first page has to be perfect and we often think it has to be perfect right from the start. But I learned a long time ago that the first page is going to change a lot over the course of the book's editing so there is no reason to stress over it and take days and days to write a mere 700 or so words that are just going to change later. And that attitude seems to be the key that has freed up my creative mind so that the first page often isn't as rewritten as it once was.
There was also a time in my career when I wasn't sure where to start a new manuscript, another problem that can keep a writer staring at a blank screen. Over the years I realized it was because I was thinking of the story, not the characters. Once I learned to let the characters tell their story rather than let a story propel them along through it, then I always knew where to start. Classes on starting close to the inciting incident, the thing that propels the character onto the course of the book, didn't hurt either.
As you might have guessed from this post, I wrote the first words of a new book yesterday, one I'm very excited to be writing. It's going to be a tough one as it is taking a lot of research, but I'm loving every moment of it. You can see my inspiration for it on my new Pinterest board dedicated to it.