So there you are with the plan you’ve made for your National Novel Writing Month story – all 50,000 words of it. You sit down at the computer. And –
Sticking on starting is normal. It happens to writers a lot. But that winking cursor and blank page isn’t going to go away by itself. First thing is to understand why writers ‘stick on starting’. A lot of the problem is because it takes time to get into the mind-set you need to write. Once ideas begin flowing – certainly for me – they tend to keep flowing. And NaNoWriMo isn’t really about word count – it’s all about output to time. That’s a basic skill any professional writer must learn – and learn early – if they are to be successful.
Why not try:
- Look at the plan. Is there a place you could start writing other than the first page? Chapter Two for instance.
- This technique works at any level. Stuck on the first words? Leave a blank space for the first sentence or two. Start half-way through the first paragraph. Then back-fill, later.
- Write the last paragraph of the book, first? This has all sorts of advantages of itself, not least being that you know where you are going.
- If you’re still stuck, write something else totally different – a blog post, an email. Anything. Just as a quick draft, maybe for 10 minutes. Then go back to your NaNo book.
- If you’re really, really stuck, start anyway. Write anything that sort of expresses what you want as your first sentence. It doesn’t have to be artistic. You can always change it later. Hey – that’s what word processors are for. This is the brute force method, and it’s one journalists often fall back on when deadlines press.
Good luck! And let me know how you get on.
Meanwhile, if you want some more writing tips and hints, and a method for pushing your book through, check out my short quick-start manual How to get writing… fast. Available on Kindle.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016