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Once Upon A Time: Starting to Write

silhouette of bird

Note: The ways listed in this post aren’t perfect ways for everyone, but if you don’t know what to do, they might be able to help. They’re the methods that worked for me, and so I wanted to share them here.

Writing for me doesn’t really have to begin with anything large. There is no catch-phrase I use, no perfect method I condone. Sometimes I use prompts, but other times I can just sprout something off the top of my head. Most of the time, I have no idea what I’m writing when I start. I begin with a word, end up with a sentence, and go from there. I follow it into a paragraph and continue throwing things out until I hit a stopping point. Once there, I look back at the words I’ve written and scan it for promise. If I like it, I then start planning-out things like plot, character personalities, and world-building.*

I’ve never experienced ‘writer’s block’ per-say, so my advice won’t be helpful on that front. But there are certainly points in time when I don’t want to write. I’m just tired of where I am, or I don’t want to work with the characters right now. Instead of beating my head against a wall, I go write somewhere else for a little while. One of my other worlds, or creating something new. Just taking these short ‘brain breaks’ as I call them can quickly get me back in the creative mood. Another useful trick I like to use is fuel my creativity is listening to music (normally youtube’s collection of videogame soundtracks) to set the mood. Certain tracks I’ve written to so much that just turning them on tells my brain that it’s writing time. This isn’t helpful at all for some authors, but it really works well for me.

Another way to bring back my drive is to concentrate on the rewards I get for my writing. Maybe I promise myself ice cream if I finish my word-quota today. Perhaps I’ll open that new book I’ve been wanting to read. When I write, my ‘big cheese’-the reward for all my hard work, is the finished chapter when I can go up to mom and say “I’ve got a new chapter for you to read.” and watch her face light up. So, if I’m close to the end of the chapter, that’s what I’ll focus on.

Whatever motivates you to write, take note of it somewhere and pull it out to meditate on when you just can’t get in the mood. You’d be surprised how often it helps.

*However, quite often I get a little too eager when writing random stuff, and end up with too many different story ideas clamoring for attention. I currently have 6 fully fledged trilogy potentials with plot twists, cliffhangers, and commentary on characters all planned out. It’s honestly a bit much considering I’ve yet to even finish my current trilogy. So use this trick sparingly.

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