“I don’t know where to start,” I was told by a very creative story teller. He is a seriously talented individual who can think of awe inspiring stories on the fly! But when asked to put his stories into writing so they can be shared or read by others, he declined based on his mental block of how to start. This is tragic! If this is you, I’ll tell you what I told him. Read on.
Set a timer. Start boldly. Make a confusing mess.
Wait, what? Yes, I just gave you permission to make a confusing mess. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it probably looked like an ugly pile of rocks in the beginning. My advice to you is to open a document and simply start typing. You may think it’s crazy and over simplified but you have a log jam in your imagination holding your creativity hostage. If you let the log jam go, with all its messy consequences, you’ll start writing.
Give me just one more paragraph to convince you.
When I first started writing Mariah’s Invisible Sword, I had no idea what the ending would be or where my characters would go. I simply had a vision in my head of a vile man dragging a woman across the snow in a blizzard. So, that’s the first thing I wrote. Then I let the scene unfold in my head and just kept typing. I had things in the wrong order, people with names like ‘guy 2’, part way through I changed my mind about things and left the errors, pushed onward and filled up a page for an hour. When I was done, I had something to work with – I edited the part I changed halfway through, named ‘guy 2’ Ameer, and found other ideas begin to blossom. Writing became less awkward and now I have a published book that my fans rave about.
I’m not saying there won’t be moments of writer’s block, but there are ways around any block. And that, friend, is the topic for another Pen Tip, as is editing your story.
If you made it to the bottom of this, you probably have a story wanting to hammer its way out of your subconscious (or conscious). A story is like clay, and if you never take it out of its packaging, it will never be anything other than a lump hidden away in an airtight bag. Here’s my challenge: Set a timer, start writing, make a mess, and then let me know how it went. But promise yourself you’ll get the story out of your head and into a document. Ugly is acceptable when you’re unpacking the clay. Beauty happens later – so what are you waiting for? Write!