Just Write Already!

One excuse I hear from would-be writers is that they never know where to start. Here’s news -You don’t have to start at the beginning. Sometimes, there is so much focus on that great first sentence, or how to lead into something that it’s paralyzing. Instead, jump into the middle. If you have an idea for a story, write a few exciting scenes you’ve thought of. If you’re writing a paper for school, answer the easy questions or describe the parts of the book that most inspire you first. Even if you’re just writing a letter, write the meat of the letter down first and come back to revise the beginning. That’s the beauty of technology–it’s easy to cut and paste, rewrite or edit without having to start over.

One piece of advice given to writers when they are writing a book is when finished their first draft, go back, toss out the first chapter and rewrite it. This is because you now know where your story will lead and you can often write a more succinct, focused chapter with a fantastic first sentence for your hook. Following this advice, you don’t have to worry about your initial impression since you will rewrite it, anyway! It’s just a jumping-off point to get your story flowing.

If you truly don’t know how to start, try to do an outline first to help organize your thoughts. Practice doing writing prompts to polish your writing skills. Do stream-of-thought writing: put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and just write whatever comes to mind-silly, creepy, nonsensical, boring. Just write.  Try listing the who, what, where of a story or article and then worry about polishing it.

So much of writing is editing and polishing. Don’t worry about how to start. Just do it. Words are beautiful and inspiring. Writing is like any other skill-you need to practice and learn your craft to stand out. You will find the right (write?) combination to make your words flow.

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