My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Getting Started (Sunday Shorts)

How do I start writing?

[Remember, keep sending in your questions to chris.brecheen@gmail.com with the subject line "W.A.W. Mailbox" and I will answer each Thursday (and a quickie on Sundays because quickies are fun.) I will use your first name ONLY unless you tell me explicitly that you'd like me to use your full name or you would prefer to remain anonymous.  My comment policy also may mean one of your comments ends up in the mailbox. Craft. Process. Form. Content. I do it all.] 

Anon asks:   
Okay, so I feel like I really should get on with completing my writing... My main issue with this is the starting process, i.e. actually starting. So... Any suggestions from any of the users and admins on this page, about how to overcome that initial hurdle? 

Something that doesn't involve a meme, or the Nike tagline. :)

Much Appreciated Thanks :D

My reply:

The blank page can be such a hard start, can’t it? It gazes back at you with just too much untold promise and too much need. Once you are just fucking up as fast as you can, it's so much easier.

I’ve got a couple of detailed articles about how to start here, but let me give you the cheap and dirty version because I myself am cheap and dirty.

1- To long term develop the habit of sitting down to write, I can’t recommend Dorothea Brande's Becoming A Writer enough. It's been over a hundred years and while lovely books exist on craft, it has almost no equal on process. It’ll take a month or two of morning writing and then another month or two of writing during a floating half hour, but the ability to simply sit down and write on command is incredibly worth it.

2- To kick start a session that isn’t going well, try doing some timed free-writing exercises. This is sort of the mental equivalent of that string you have to pull to start old lawnmowers and edgers. Ten minutes of anything you think of–that you KNOW you're going to throw away–can help generate some ideas that you can take a little more time with.

3- If you're absolutely unable to even get started here, open up a book by an author you like and start copying it, word for word. You literally can't type as fast as you think, so pretty soon your brain will be out ahead and thinking of new ideas. When you're ready to write your own words, let loose. Just don't forget to go back and change the earlier stuff if you don't want to have to relive that scene in Finding Forrester.

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