Back in elementary school I remember sitting at our kitchen table, staring down at a blank piece of paper. I had to write a book report but when I tried to begin, I became so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project that I just froze and couldn’t think of anything to write.
So I asked my Dad what to do and he said, “Just start writing.”
While it may seem counterintuitive, or just impossible, this was the best advice I’ve gotten on writing.
Starting is usually the hardest part. Once my mind gets on a roll, it’s easier to continue writing. But it’s putting that first word down on a page that seems to cripple so many people.
In the movie Finding Forrester, the main character is encouraged to use someone else’s work to get started on his own project. That can be a good launching point, as long as you don’t include the original piece in your finished work (which he unfortunately did). There are also a ton of writing prompts and Facebook groups online where you can find ideas for writing.
For me, I just start with an idea I’m already thinking about and see what comes out of it. You have to start somewhere, but where I end up is usually much different than where I thought I was going.
I like the example of walking up the stairs, but you can’t see the step until you take a step, then put your foot down. It’s working for me so far, so what are you waiting for?