Sometimes, the most difficult part of writing is simply getting started. Before you’ve got any words in front of you can sometimes be the most daunting experience.
Whether you’re working on an ongoing writing project or need to start something new, you’re not alone if you’re having trouble. Read on for seven ways to get your writing started:
1. Take a Walk
If you think this sounds like a cop-out, it’s not. When you’ve been staring at a computer screen for the last hour or so, it’s time to move.
We don’t mean go MIA for a day. We mean, take a quick stroll around the block, go grab a take away coffee – anything that gets some fresh air into you and your mind off the task at hand momentarily.
All this does is take the pressure off, re-awakens your brain, and makes you feel like when you sit down again, you’re starting with a clean slate.
2. Re-work a Previous Story
Is your current piece not really doing it for you today? Are you sitting in front of a blank screen with a blank space where all your ideas should be? Why not look at an old story of yours, one you haven’t seen for a while…
Does anything catch you eye? Do you see room for improvement? Why don’t you take some time to explore the ideas you had when you wrote this story with fresh eyes? Does anything inspire you? Do you like a particular sentence?
Whatever you find in this old piece of writing, it can only have a positive outcome – you either practice your editing skills, learn from mistakes of the past, or find new passion and new avenues for an old idea.
3. Find Inspiration: Writing Prompts & Photographs
Many writers use writing prompts to get themselves started. A writing prompt can be anything from an image, to a single word, sentence, or paragraph that attempts to spark an idea.
Writer’s Edit does Weekly Writing Prompts, you can check them out, here. Sometimes though, your brain might be craving a more visual kickstart.
Often, we find that looking at beautiful photography is all we need to put pen to paper. Have a look at some of our favourite inspirations, here. If neither of these work, why not have a read of our article on 8 Ways to Improve Your Creativity?
4. Go Old-School
That’s right. Step away from the big white screen. Sometimes it’s great to just sit down with a good old fashion notepad and pen. We can’t be the only ones who sometimes miss the actual physical act of writing itself?
A notepad and pen allows you to focus solely on the words on the page and channel your creativity through something that feels natural. A notepad doesn’t let you to keep fifty tabs open at once, or play something in the background, or let you minimise Word and answer your emails.
We strongly recommend this method, even if it’s just to jot down the events within a scene by hand, to type up in full on the computer later, it could certainly help to have something to work off.
5. Talk to Another Writer
There’s honestly nothing quite like talking to another writer, but in particular, it can prove super useful for when you find yourself lacking motivation or ideas. Even if you’re just moaning to this writer about the fact that you can’t get into your writing, that’s fine.
What you’ll find is that talking to another writer, provides you with an understanding ear. In all likelihood, they’ve been there too – perhaps they even have some advice to help you out… But above anything else, it just helps to be with someone who’s in the same boat, or at least has been before.
You’ll come away from this feeling like you’re not as alone as you thought, you may be more motivated, hell, you might have even triggered some ideas…
6. Try Free Writing
Free writing is a technique used by a lot of writers just to simply get the process started. Set yourself a time limit, 5-10 minutes to start off with, whatever you like. The second you press start, you put pen to paper and just write.
Even if you’re just writing ‘I don’t know what to write’ over and over again, that’s okay. The point is to be writing, not be writing-pulitzer-prize-winning-literature. It’s just an exercise.
Once you’ve got the scary part (starting) out of the way, you’ll be far more inclined to get going with your current writing project.
If all else fails, and you really just can’t write another word, don’t. Read instead, it’s the next best thing to writing.
You’re still immersing yourself in the same kind of world – the world of words, creativity, story, character… Learn something from the book you’re reading, whether it’s a style you like, a punchy piece of dialogue you appreciate or a lesson of what not to do… take it all in.
You can trick yourself into thinking that this is ‘down-time’ – make a cup of tea, snuggle up in your favourite armchair with a blanket over your knees like a nanna… but for a writer, reading is like studying or going to school.
Even if you’re in chill-out mode, you’re learning, and isn’t that what writing is all about anyway?