December 23, 2016

#LifeWritten: How to Start Writing When You Don't Know Where to Start

I can't believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Where has 2016 gone? My last post of the year (I won't be back until January 2nd but already have six posts queued up for 2017!) is writing-centric, the second installment of #LifeWritten. Posts in this ongoing series, as opposed to general grammar and strategy posts filed under the label "writing tips," deal more with the creative side of writing— finding inspiration, staying motivated, crafting your work into the best possible version, sharing my own progress, etc.

Today's post, as suggested by the title, deals with how to start writing when you don't know where to start. At some point, we've all had an idea for a blog post or story that we're just not sure how to put into writing. I'm sharing three ways you can get around that road block. Also: if you missed Wednesday's (big, exciting!) announcement, you can about it here, but in short: I'm now offering writing coaching services on a freelance basis! I can help you with all sort of issues you're facing as a writer. More here. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

+ Start anywhere.

Know the tips you want to share in that blog post but can't figure out how to start off the post? Put all the tips together first, and then figure that out. Have you come up with the ideal plot twist or character hallmark but can't figure out how to tie that into the very first chapter? Write it, and save it. If it's meant to fit, you'll find the space for it.

+ Free write about the topic.

I love to free write and journal. Not everyone enjoys creative writing, but you don't have to like authoring short stories or coming up with plot lines to free write. Free writing can be as simple and straightforward as making a list. What five things come to mind when you think of this topic? What have you read and loved recently about/on this topic? If you want to go further than a list, ask yourself a related question and respond in as many or as few words as you want. You might find missing links and elusive ideas.

+ Look for inspiration.

Lots of bloggers swear by Pinterest when it comes to creative gridlock; others love to create inspiration boards. I love Pinterest and aesthetically-pleasing cork squares covered in magazine snippets as much as the next person, but it's not where I turn for inspiration. I like to take a break from whatever it is that I'm struggling with and get out and do something. That something could be brunch with a friend or just a grocery run to Trader Joe's to clear my head. After stepping away, I often feel considerably more motivated, and I'm able to see my ideas and plans with a fresh perspective.

How do you start writing when you don't know where to start?

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