The Writing Process: the beginning

Starting a new writing project is always hard. The dreaded blank page makes doing ANYTHING else seem better than actually writing. Unfortunately, to get anywhere in writing – and life – means having to trudge through the miserable beginning where everything is up for grabs and you only have two hands.

I hate beginning the writing process because I never know what to say or write about. When given prompts, I feel confined to write about something I have limited knowledge on and fear it may end terribly for this reason. On the other hand, if I have no prompt, then I get stuck on not having structure and am right back to staring at the screen confused and frustrated with myself.

But, I love writing, despite how difficult it is to actually write.

So, here I am again, about to begin another writing project and I am staring at the screen just as expected.

What do I do to get over the first hurdle?

Recently, I have figured out that my previous method of beginning the writing process – observing my surroundings, taking walks, listening to music, reading – was not the best way to begin. While this may work for you, and sometimes it works for me, I found that I was using it to procrastinate beginning instead of as a way to find my inspiration.

I now try to begin writing by writing. This is an obvious statement. Of course I have to write, as nothing would get accomplished if I never started writing.

However, the importance of writing to begin the writing process was lost on me for a long time. I thought that writers or aspiring writers had to “find their muse” or whatever that means. I thought I had to be mysterious and sit at cafés or have my nose in a book to write anything.

But writing to begin the writing process is diving into the blank page headfirst. It is how you begin generating ideas because you begin exercising your mind. Thankfully, whatever is written at the beginning doesn’t have to be the beginning of the project. It can be a brainstorming activity, a list of topics that pop into your head, or just a tangent. It can be a blog post – like this one.

It is definitely okay to begin the writing process by doing something other than writing. However, if you are like me, don’t use it as an excuse to avoid beginning. Write something.

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