To Begin at the Beginning…


Where to begin…


When you begin to write, you often start from the idea. You have a great idea. You work out how you want to say it. You write that down. But that isn’t always, or even often, how it really works. You can sit down to start writing, and all the great ideas seem to disappear. Or somehow you can’t quite capture it in words. Or you’ve reached a certain point in a piece of work and you feel ‘blocked’ with no ideas for the next line or moment or page.


When that happens here are some things to try:


Get a blank piece of paper/document. Look around the room you are in chose one object and write the name of that at the top of the page. Then time yourself for 1 minute and write whatever comes into your head. It can be a stream of words, phrases, sentences, whatever – just try not to self-censor just write what comes up. Pick another object, or quality (can be colour or description – smooth, curvy, light) write for 2 minutes, pick another and do it again for 3 minutes. Don’t force yourself to stay ‘on topic’ if your mind wanders off go with it – the idea is to just get whatever is going on in your head down on the page.


Go for a walk (take notebook/laptop/tablet with you) wander around and find a space you can write in – indoors or outdoors doesn’t matter just somewhere where you can write and a space you find interesting. Spend some time taking it in: sight, sounds, smell, touch, however you observe a space get as much detail as you can. Build the picture up in your mind. Now imagine someone coming into that space – through a door (if it has doors) or along a path or dropping from the sky! Again not important how but you imagine someone coming in. Who are they? Age, look, sound, size? Imagine them waiting in that space? How do they wait? Are they nervous? Impatient? Calm? Call them Person A.


Now a second person enters. Also imagine them as clearly as possible. How have they entered? What are they doing? Are they hurried or slow? Are they carrying anything? What are they wearing?  Call them Person B.


Person A goes up to Person B and says something. Person B responds. They have a short dialogue. Write that down.


If you feel stuck, focus on the details. Ask yourself questions – what does this sounds like, what does this look like? How do they react? Don’t think of getting it right or wrong but just asking questions, and seeing what happens. Your imagination will do the work…


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