It’s Day 1 of National Novel Writing Month – or of your latest writing project. There you are, hoping to hit the 1,666.66 finished words a day you need to hit the NaNoWriMo target. Or a deadline. And…nothing…
I call it ‘starting block’.
First step – don’t panic. OK, now work the problem. Why are you stuck? Because you have no ideas, or because you are filled with ideas and can’t express them? Each problem has a different answer.
The classic standby for both, though, is the same – go for a walk, tidy up the kitchen, try some gardening. Anything. Not for long. Ten minutes. Without thinking about the problem in hand. Then get back to the computer. If it’s the ‘filled with idea’ problem and you’re stuck on the opening words, try starting in the middle of what you want to say. Backfill to the first sentence later.
If it’s the ‘no ideas at all’ problem, try this: get some note-paper and write down some random words. First thing that comes to mind. Go away for a minute or two. Come back. Do they mean anything?
Often, you may find the idea you want drifts in at that point – and it may not be anything to do with the words you’ve just written.
Try it. You might surprise yourself.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013
Coming up: Sixty second writing tips, ‘Write It Now’, ‘NaNo writing prompt’ posts, and more. Watch this space.