I’ve been writing in one form or another for almost 30 years. I’d like to share some tips that I use to help me get from the blank page to a finished story.
- Writers Write: Writers are compelled to write. So, if you want to be a writer, write. I’ve come across a lot of people who like the idea of being a writer, but rarely have the discipline it be one. It’s the difference between the people who want to lose weight and those that actually do. Be a writer.
- Experiment: Approach writing as an experiment. Have a goal and give it a shot. This alleviates the pressure of being perfect. If the experiment turns ugly, that’s okay. You’ll be a better writer for having tried and learning what not to do allows you to something great later on.
- Know the End: Some people write intuitively and see where the story takes them, but I never start a project without knowing how it ends. Everything you write should be in service to the ending. If you go down creative tangents, make sure they augment the end. The more satisfying the end, the more it will resonate with the reader after they’re done.
- Writers Block: I have found that I get writers block when I don’t know where the story is going. I’ve either written myself into a corner or went down a direction that led to a dead end. Either way, I need a GPS to get me back on track. To get passed this, my GPS reminds me…
- Anything Can Happen: Whenever I get stuck, I always remember the phrase “anything can happen.” This frees me from whatever preconceived ideas that are keeping me from moving forward and allows me to indulge in an infinite number of “what ifs.” Some of the best plot twists I’ve ever devised came from telling myself that “anything can happen.”
- Finish the 1st Draft: The hardest draft of any project is the first one. “Writing is Rewriting” so know you have numerous rewrites in your future. Don’t worry about making the first draft perfect. It won’t be. Ever. Just get the story out of your head and onto the paper. You can’t fix a blank page. You can always fix a first draft.
- Close Enough: If you can’t find the right word, don’t let it stop you. To keep momentum going I simply put the word in question in parenthesis and move on. For example, I could write “The dog ran up to the porch (breathing quickly).” The next time I edit it, I see the parenthesis and know what I meant to say, replacing it with the word I originally wanted to use; “The dog ran up to the porch panting.” Inspiration is a rare event. Don’t let a word here or there stop you from getting it from your head to the paper.
Those are a few tips I’ve learned over time to help me get my thoughts onto paper. Please share any tips you may have in the comments section.