What would the next step be in the process of writing this amazing story down on paper? The hardest part to writing a story is getting started. Here are a few suggestions as to how to start:
1. That first sentence is brutal. Your mind keeps telling you that it is the most important sentence in the book. I would tend to agree, but, remember your first sentence and in the end, it will be your first page that you will edit about a thousand times. You will decide on a different first line so many times, it is really irrelevant right now, so just throw something down, that makes a little bit of sense. This is a first draft of many.
2. Find a quiet place to write to avoid interruptions. Sometimes, it is difficult to bounce in and out of your story with kids asking for sandwiches and your husband looking for his golf shirt. It is difficult to just jump back into the story once you have been disrupted. The fewer disruptions the easier it is to write and stay in the moment.
3. Block your time in large chunks. It is easier for your mind to stay focused on your story if you can devote your time into larger intervals, like two hours of straight writing before the kids get up, as opposed to writing for five to ten minutes at a time and having to reread your last chapter to figure out where your mind was headed at the time.
4. Return your emails first. If it helps, get your tasks out of the way first. It helps get you in the writing mood and it allows your brain to concentrate on your story and not worrying about all the people waiting for answers on some baseball party you are organizing.
5. Brainstorm with family or friends. Throw out a piece of your idea and see what they come up with. Sometimes, your best ideas come from feeding off other ideas. It is called the spinning effect. One small tale leads to a large intriguing tale.
6. Index cards. Use small cards to add your thoughts and ideas. You can later place them across the living room floor and try to organize them into the order that they will appear in your novel.
7. Use a spider web. Grab a large sheet of blank paper and a pencil or pen. Start with writing your subject in the middle of the page. Shoot arrows out in four directions to start with, indicating your next thought. Write down whatever comes into your head whether it makes some kind of sense or not. Think of it as a scrap piece of paper no one else will see and start scribbling. Use all five senses: sight, touch, smell, hear and taste. This creates great possibilities for a more creative manuscript and it will allow you to think of twists that will surprise the reader. Once you have the page full, number the ideas that are of interest and create a point form list of possibilities.
8. Freefall writing. This is an easy way to get started. Set a time limit, such as ten minutes. Short spurts are better and before you know it you’ll be writing so fast, that you ignore the time limit. You put your pen to paper and start writing whatever comes into your head without stopping to think about it. Just write. No stopping, until the oven timer buzzes the end! If you are stuck and staring at the blank page, then write these words, “I’m a writer with nothing to say. I see a blank page before me and I need to fill it with words but I can’t think of anything to say.” Before you know it, your page will be full and time will commenced. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling and punctuation. It’s just an idea builder. You take risks. Sometimes, you get amazing ideas that you can run with later.
9. Use Spider webbing and Freefall writing together if you like. Stare at your web and start writing the first thing you think of when you look at your ideas. It is definitely a quick and easy way to get started when you are stuck. It also helps you break the “I have nothing to say” barrier. You can edit the work later or you can throw it in the garbage. Your choice. Either way, it gets you writing.
10. Lastly, if all the above is not working for you, try something different... change up your routine. If you are writing in long spurts, change to five-minute spurts or vise-versa. If you write at 5am, like I do, try writing late at night or during your lunch hours at work. Your mind works differently during different times of the day. If you write only on weekends, switch it up to Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
I like to write every day, just to keep me involved with the process of creating something, but it is whatever you can fit into your schedule. Like I said, getting started is the hardest part to tackling a bigger project like writing a novel.
Be calm and get scribbling your ideas down. Can’t wait to hear how that works for you.