Are You Having Trouble Starting to Write?

One of the most intimidating things for a writer is a blank page. The blinking cursor staring back at you. What to write… where to start… what should I say… I’m not a novelist, but I have done a great deal of writing for pleasure, school, and for work. I know — from experience — one of the hardest things to do is begin writing.

As just about all of my writing is done on a computer, I can’t really put into practice one of the tips I’m about to offer, but I have had it offered to me by those who are sometimes faced with this same conundrum. The advice: scribble on the page. Scribble in the corners, scribble near where the “title” would go. Mark up the page. Make it appear as if it’s not a “pristine” fresh sheet of paper. Sometimes, there’s an anxiety to making the first mark on the page. If there’s already a mark on the page, it might make it easier to begin writing.

Two other tips: 1) stream of consciousness. Essentially, one could play a game with one’s self. That is, one could set a timer for 300 seconds and just continue to type — no matter what. After the 5 minutes is up, one will definitely no longer have a blank page and will have something to work with on said page. 2) make an outline (iterative). Assuming one hasn’t already made an outline, if there’s trepidation around starting a project, it might be a good idea to make an outline. After the outline is made, there may still be some fear around beginning. At this point, I would suggest revisiting the outline and then growing it. That is, if there are 5 major points on the outline, then take the 1st point and make 5 minor points within it and do the same for the other 4 major points.

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