Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Any Beginning Will Do

'Never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning' 
Florence Nightingale - the Lady with the Lamp

From the point of view of a writer, any beginning will do, as long as it's a start. The blank page can intimidate you into all manner of procrastination:

  • Sharpen pencils (first find pencils and sharpener)
  • Turn on computer (check FB, comment, like, reply, friend, unfriend ad infinitum)
  • Make coffee (grind beans, refill sugar pot - at a pinch wash up or run the dishwasher - bake scones, whip cream, invite friends to eat, shake crumbs from cleavage)
  • Research topic (search library catalogue, read online snippets, look up Wikepedia, sigh, check bookshelf for related items, tidy bookshelf, alphabetise books by title, decide alphabetising books by author is better, read three other novels)
  • Light lamp (turning on lights is a reasonable alternative since by now it will be dark)
  • Put pencils in order according to size (ready for the morning)
  • Turn off computer  (after checking FB, commenting, liking, replying, friending, unfriending ad infinitum).
Job done. Fresh start tomorrow!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Starting Somewhere

‘Almost all good writing begins with terrible efforts. You need to start somewhere.’
Anne Lamott – Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

For the last few months I have been writing full-time. Every morning when I sit at my writing table I tell myself  'start somewhere'. 

It seems the trick is to turn off the self doubt and just start typing. Here are some techniques I have used to let my inner creative take hold: 

  • Describe the story behind an interesting photograph
  • Start with three key words
  • Use a news story and pretend to be a character in it
  • Write like crazy (and don't even think about editing!)