The beginning is the best place to start. Flying pigs and snorting angels – is it that obvious? Not always. I suggested why to start with the end in my previous blog. But then I’m weird, and as a reader that would be a spoiler, plus this may not suit you.
I don’t ever read a books ending first, but writing the end can help -it gives you trajectory.
What you may find a little irritating, is that while I may mention the importance of revision, and proof reading, you will most likely decide most of my blogs need work. I make no apologies. I want to get the blogs out in a timely manner. The essence and purpose will be there, even if it’s not shiny. I will revise and re-write later. This in fact, is one important thing you will need to be brave enough to do once you get writing:
Save your work. Put it away for a couple of weeks or more, then re-read and start to sharpen it up. Okay so I’ve contradicted myself, but I have explained why.
You have read loads – keep reading.
You have the equipment you need.
You have the space you feel comfortable in to write.
You have the time and feel fresh enough to start.
You have an idea, or maybe you don’t.
Let’s begin with the notion you don’t have an idea, but you are most importantly, motivated to write:
I suggest you join a creative writing course. It will stimulate ideas.
Oh no, she’s going to start preaching!
Here me out. The people around you will write in very different styles. It’s important you LISTEN to them. You will learn, I promise. Maybe not instantly, but something will stir. I attended creative writing classes ran by Ann Monica. She worked for our local Further Education College. I loved her style, her intuition, and her personality, so much so, I kept going back. I think this freaked her out. A colleague said she discovered I was a lecturer, and worried I was assessing the quality of her sessions. What did I know? I knew nothing, that’s why I was there, to learn. Besides, she really needn’t have worried. I would have given her a flying gold star with knobs on!
Why do you want to write? Be honest. What do you want to write about? Write that down. Do a list of things you would like to be able to write about. It’s for your eyes only, so what’s stopping you? Read books in that genre.
Okay I am banging on a bit about reading but it’s important.
Here are a few idea you can try to get you started, but whatever you do, if it’s not working STOP. I don’t want you to fall off the page before you start. Try something else.
- Take a notebook/laptop and go to the local church. I know you will be respectful, but maybe get permission first. When I went on my own, a verger asked why I was lurking around in the graveyard. I explained. Then I found out why one grave faced a different way to all the rest. She had given me the bones of a story without ever knowing.
- Ann Monica (CREATIVE WRITING CLASS) took the group to church. I am not the religious sort and worried. When it started thunder, I wondered whether a bolt of lightning would strike me dead! It was a brilliant, but somewhat scary session. It got me writing though. Ann began by walking us through the graveyard and took us to one, inconsequential looking grave. She regaled the story of a woman hanged for murdering her children. What transpired was so sad, I could have wept. But what a story! Is there a tombstone that captures your imagination? The date maybe. What happened in that year? The name perhaps. What did he/she do for a living. What were their lives like – it doesn’t have to be real, not when you’re writing fiction. Of course, you don’t have to do that.
- You can sit at home and read a newspaper. See if any of the articles grab your attention like: ‘Thugs mug Granny Smith for apples.’ But if you flip the story over, maybe she’s the thug. Maybe she stole the apples in the first place, and she wasn’t mugged at all. Maybe the apples are a euphemism for drugs. Try flipping the story on its head. You need to get creative.
- Perhaps you could begin writing about your life. Bits that you loved, bits you hated, bits you would have changed with hindsight. Smells of Granny Smith, sounds of Granny Smith (Poor Granny. Sorry kiddo I’m not picking on you, honest). Write about what’s going on right now. It will be great for reflection in 20 years. Ann asked us to write for our grandchildren or great grandchild. Weird I thought, but I wrote a letter to an imaginary grandchild. Years later I found it. The information I have there is simply amazing. So much detail that I had forgotten. From the type of bubble gum and how it got stuck in my hair. The clothes, hairstyles. The newness and mystery of computers and everything in between!
Hopefully, something here I have suggested will get you started. If you want me to make more suggestions, please put a message on. Or just thumbs up will be lovely. I will happily try to come up with something else. Oh, also research NANOWRIMO. This is something else you could try and is an excellent way to make yourself write. Even if it’s not November! OKAY: It think I will do the next blog on the beginning – again, but this time it will be for those who have an idea. M