HOW TO START WRITING



You know, before I wrote this sentence ‘this’ was just a blank page. That’s how it starts... that’s how it always starts. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been writing, how well you think you write or how well others have told you, you write. A blank page can seem like a writer’s worst enemy and you have to device new methods of making an ally out of it.

Our Problem

The problem is you just can’t write. A blank page scares you and that’s okay because, it frightens the most renowned poets, authors, scholars, professors, professional writers, idiots, naked people, trained assassins, presidents and everybody else as well. It’s painful, I know.

May be you’ve had hours, days and perhaps even months of inexplicably brilliant writing but it always ends. You may have experienced spurts when words marched down your fingers like soldiers and arranged themselves in an orderly fashion like well trained battalions on your computer screen.
But, ask any honest professional writer and he or she will tell you, how petrified they are of the next blank page.

Inspiration may not strike you, motivation may avoid you, ideas may disown you, and your muse might decide to cast you away for someone better. You see, there are a million reasons for not writing and all of them are fear. Fear is your enemy and to beat it, you must befriend it; if possible make it your lover.

Why our problem exists

The reason your mind gives itself for not writing doesn’t matter. Writing is triumphant, gifting, joyous, wondrous, and all those positive adjectives but most of all... writing is painful and it is effort. Our mind will do more to avoid pain than it will to gain pleasure.  That is why it is so difficult to write and I’m not even talking about writing well here.

But we’ve made progress already! We’ve identified your problem and we’ve narrowed it down to its source. That brings us to how you can battle the specific, personal and private demons that prevent the writer within you from flourishing.

How we will strangle the problem to death

Writing is an art but it’s also a science and that’s actually good news for us! Now while there is no set formula and one size does not fit all- there are things which always help. I personally resort to an array of methods ranging from self-rewarding ones to unconventional self torture but, we’re taking baby steps here. That’s why I’d like to talk about something you might have heard: The 4 W’s and 1 H rule: What? When? Where? Why? How? This is the easiest part (Okay not really).

1) What are you’re going to write about?

Finding the “What” does not imply that you research a topic till you procure a doctorate in it; just know a little bit about what you’re writing about. Choose a topic- it doesn’t matter what it is- just pick one. Next, you must quickly recollect all you can about your topic. Write those things on the sheet of paper. You’ve begun the writing process. Don’t be afraid.

2) When are you going to write?

Now, is always the best time to write. Later is always a bad idea but don’t kill yourself over it. Put your distractions away. Turn your phone off, switch off the Wifi, leave your dog to play in the backyard and tell anyone who could disturb you, not to. It is important to know that you have time to write and the only way you ever will is if you make time to. Mentally list your plan for the day and figure out when the best time for you to write will be. Write. Don’t be afraid.

3) Where are you going to write?

Truth be told, you can write anywhere. So this question is actually more about where you like to write or where you would like to write? I personally write best when there is silence and I can hear the voice in my head clearly – if I can’t I usually read what I’m writing aloud. The place doesn’t matter. I just need to find a comfortable position and I’m good to go. Don’t be too finicky about this if you’re just starting out though. Pick a spot and start writing. It’s okay. Don’t be afraid.

4) Why are you writing?

It’s important to know why you’re writing. Is it for a blog? Is it for another person? The best way to write for me though has been to write for myself. If it means something to you it’s always great. It’s not a prerequisite though; you can write about things you do not care for. You just have to care about your writing. Don’t wait till you find the perfect idea- it doesn’t exist. Nothing should come in the way of your writing; not even a good book.

Notice how I’ve come from saying ‘Our’ to ‘Your’and ‘We’ to ‘You’?  I've been hand holding you so far, pretending like we're in it together but we're not, it's all you from here. I’m about to let go of your hand now and by now you’re either not afraid or know that fear is actually... a friend.

5) How are you going to write?

Great, good, bad, average- it doesn’t matter. Just write. If you’re confident enough, decide what tense you’re going to write in, are you going to write in first person or third person? These things aren’t important in the beginning but they can save you a lot of time when editing. You’re ready now. You know everything you need to know before you write and you’re about to learn a whole lot more as you write.

And listen... when you do write, know that I applaud you, irrespective of how you write. Because the world of is full of disgusting, repulsive people who talk about writing but don’t write. It’s full of people who read brilliant authors and think they know something about writing. People who will point out your typos, your grammatical errors but will never become writers themselves. Forgive such people, take their criticism as encouragement.

There will never be enough writers in the world because new people start everyday as readers. We start as children who read fairy tales and then we read comics, newspapers, novels and if we make it that far some of us even read poetry. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to start writing.

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