I thought I would continue last week’s post with a ‘How to…’ series and write about what I have learned about writing these past ten years.
So how to start writing?
The answer might sound simple: by beginning! But the road to actually doing that can be bumpy and difficult.
We Dutchies have a saying: every beginning is hard. I feel it’s a universal truth. It is true for everything: your first day of school, first day at a new job, first date, getting over the nerves to do anything for the first time really!
But as you will know, once you take that first step, it gets easier. The same goes for writing!
So let’s start here: open your journal, that word document or the notes app in your phone. That’s step 1 down! Go you!
Now for that blank page… And if you’re on a device: that darn blinking cursor.. It stares at you impatiently. But don’t let it get to you! Think of it as a blank slate that will be filled with your own imagination. Isn’t that an exciting prospect?
If you have an idea, start! Start anywhere! Do you have a scene in mind? Go write it! An ending? Write it! A beginning? Awesome, write it down! And remember: it does not have to be perfect! Rather: just write as it comes to you. The edit is for later! As long as you write it down. Trust me, no writer’s first draft is perfect. Or to be more precise: no writer wants you to see a first draft ever! Because everyone’s first draft of anything is usually pretty darn crap, in the writer’s eye anyway!
But what if your mind remains blank and you want to write but have no idea what about? I’ve been there, for sure!
What I used to do is think of the last book I read or the last movie or TV show I watched and think of how I would continue it. Or how I would change a chapter or an episode. You’d be surprised how much fanfiction can get those creative juices flowing and make your own imagination start to crank out ideas of its own too!
What I have found is that the more I write, fanfic or original, the more the ideas come. So if you are only just thinking of starting to write but you cannot think of a single thing to write about: don’t fret! The more you will write, the more the ideas will come to you.
But getting to think of that first idea can be difficult. For me, writing exercises worked. But only some, though this is of course different for everyone. There’s a ton of exercises to be found online, but the only one that truly worked for me and that really got my writing going is this one:
Write down all of your favourite books, stories, TV shows, films, vlogs, podcasts, etc: every medium that tells a story!
Then write down all of the things these have in common with one another. Is it a genre? Is it a theme? Is it a time period? Particular characters or plot lines?
The answers (usually more than one) may surprise you, but they also tell you something: they tell you what you enjoy in a story.
Take these answers and think of what it is exactly that you enjoy about these particular stories and how you could possibily use them in a story of your own. What would you change about this book’s plot line? What kind of character would you add? What would you change about that film’s ending? Any other settings you would use?
All these questions can lead to answers that can lead to inspiration for your own stories. It did for me! Plus if you look at the stories that you enjoy, you can be pretty sure you’ll enjoy writing such stories of your own too!
I hope any of this might help you in your quest to start writing.
Because the simple truth remains that to start writing you simply need to set your pen to paper or your finger on your keyboard and WRITE!
Good luck and have fun!