The Blank First Page

The cursor blinks. The space seems endless. What to write?

I see lots of tweets about anxiety in starting your first project. It’s almost like having a fancy notebook…that you’ve never used.

What could I write, I think, that would be worthy of such a notebook? My handwriting is messy. My pen is not nice enough. Etc.

Yes, maybe. (Especially the handwriting, for me.) But.

Forget the special notebook. You can save your first draft as “stuff.doc” if you want.

Here are some things I use to get out of writer’s block or starting anxiety (not in order) –

  • Don’t put pressure on yourself. I admit, I was that kid in elementary school who didn’t understand the point of rough drafts when I had the thing written and was happy with it. But now? Just get words down. They don’t have to be great words. Just…type. Shuffle around. Highlight. Use silly fonts. Have fun.
  • Like I said. Have fun.
  • Can’t figure out what to write next? Write a scene from a different character’s POV. Write what the people in the background are talking about. Write a random scene that is scheduled to take place way further on in your novel. Write something, save or delete it. Just get into the groove.
  • Remember that editing is a thing. That you don’t have to do right now.
  • Start in the middle and worry about the beginning later, if that helps.
  • Have a random idea that looks like it might be useful? Write it down! Don’t worry about how it might be useful for the larger plot etc.
  • What makes logical sense to be written next? Write the next bullet point from your outline.
  • Take a break. Not too long of a break. But walk around, maybe talk to someone, do something unrelated.
  • I often prefer to write on an app or similar and then email it to myself and compile it all later. That way I can focus on a chunk at a time.

Basically, fun and low-pressure is my go-to. Explore your fictional world. Write as much as you want. Trim it later.

Go.

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