Where to begin? Tips for Writers/Aspiring Writers

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First you’re tapping the end of a pencil on a blank page or hovering and wiggling your fingers over the keyboard. Then comes the frequent stares at the ceiling, a bite to the corner of your bottom lip, and your eyes widen. You look down at your paper one last time before you finally direct the pencil point to the line or move your finger closer to the keys, then.. NOTHING.

Writer's block can be a bitch.

This may seem strange but sometimes its equally or even more painful (for me at least) trying to have control over the millions of thoughts that's bouncing up and down in your head but not quite ready to explode on paper. What do we call the opposite of writer's block?

You know its there. Figuratively, its at the very tip of your tongue, but you're having a hard time getting it out. With literary devices of all sorts littered around you, you're anxious to pollute your script with words but just don't know where to begin? Maybe it's because you worry about starting something you may never be satisfied about completing. Your fear about wanting it to be perfect and not leaving out anything is preventing you from actually starting. I know this feeling all too well. You're not alone, trust me I've been there.

My advice to you is, just start. Give it a try. The only way you're sure to finish anything in life is by starting. This applies to writing essays, poetry, letters, or blogs. You're never going to know how great you are unless you apply yourself.

Don't stress too much about it either. You are not the only one who sometimes don't feel "inspired."  and consequently think writing is too difficult. A lot of successful writers have had "uninspiring" days. But, they don't just lounge around in self pity waiting for inspiration to find them. No, they start writing anyway. Let your inspiration come from within. I've learnt to create my inspiration and be my own motivator. For me, it comes from within ninety (90%) percent of the time.

Whether you're writing your college admission essay, trying to start your own blog or taking on a bigger project like writing your own book, you're going to have to start somewhere. If it's a writing assignment for school, you're most likely going to have a specific topic with specific instructions to follow. No matter the subject matter, the key thing is to think it through. Plan your essay as much as you could before you even begin. It's always good to write your first draft like its the final piece. By this I mean, give it your all, then work your way backwards, editing, re-reading and editing again. Organization is key in order to have a well done essay. Even having a fresh pair of eyes read your piece can help. This provides you with useful feedback, even helping you see things you missed out.

Always imagine yourself as the reader and not just the author. Don't rush it down, but think of the impact it would have on your reader(s) and remain focused until the end. Sometimes this may mean taking a break from it then revisiting. Don't worry that's all in it, just don't stay away too long to lose your motivation.

I've always fell in the category of people who become overly excited about writing to the point that they're overwhelmed with different ideas and confused as to how to put it on paper. Is that weird? Well, I'm proud to be speaking to my fellow weirdos here. I wish I had someone years ago to give me tips when I found myself in this predicament.Luckily, I'm here and I'm sure there are hundreds of other bloggers out there too, who would love to assist you. If, for e.g. you do need help, you can send me the specific topic that you would like to get some tips on, and I'll be happy to provide, to the best of my ability, help more so with the construction of the essay than actual content.

I was once a student who, even though English and Literature were my favorite subjects (and I did well in both,) would be sitting in an exam room, anxious to start writing but not going anywhere too fast. To me, the way you begin the essay sets the tone for the overall essay. I wound end up re-writing my opening sentences over and over and over again.  No I'm not even exaggerating by repeating "over and over" like that. I quickly realized however, this method not only took up too much time but it wasn't even healthy. All I really needed to do was relax. Take it one step at a time, and figure out exactly what I wanted to convey. Once I got over that hurdle, which took up the first half hour of my exam most times, my thoughts would flow. But this isn't healthy, and if we can prevent it then let us.

When it comes to long-form writing, all it takes is the right frame of mind to start. Where you write is also important. There are some writers who are unable to work unless there are no distractions. On the other hand, some would say that writers should be able to write anywhere, oblivious to our surroundings, mentally blocking off all distractions and getting lost in our own creative world.

What most of us have come to terms with is that the only sure way to write, let alone have anything published, is by putting our pens to paper, butts to seats or fingers to keyboards and just start to write. Don't write while stressed because it will show. The beauty and sometimes downfall of writers is that the words speak for themselves and so we may feel the same way you felt while writing it. Words evoke emotion. So try to enjoy writing and it will speak for itself.

I can go on and on with possible steps I think helped me but the best advice I got was from an English teacher when I asked him "Sir where to begin?" His reponse was "all I can tell you child is at the top of a new page." Hope that helps ✏️📖

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Chad says:

    Excellent tip….before I read it…”begin at the top of a new page”…. I usually say…begin at the beginning….maybe that’s my way of saying “begin at the top of a new page”….. the idea behind that methodology for me is that it simply makes sense and gives the words its proper order.

    I am no English or Literature expert…. I did not further those studies in any way…. I did them by force but I recognized the value in each even while doing my other course. I have no clue about past participles and conjunctions and verbs and nouns etc….and I only remember adjectives from that song on Sesame Street “Unpack my Adjectives” (remember that song though? ….he was a hairy bear…he was a scary bear…he was a bear who escaped from his lair…so she unpacked her adjectives….)….any how…yes…the beginning.

    I never really suffered from writers block…so possibly I either have the ultimate solution or… I just am not an avid writer that gets excited or whatever that causes it just doesn’t deem me to be important enough to infect…. I haven’t the slightest clue, but what I do know is that when I write, it paints the picture in my mind well enough that people can understand to some extent… as I said, I didn’t do that bad in both subjects…even though I never ever studied the concepts….in fact at University again by force… I had to do FD10A it was deemed the most difficult course to pass and honor students were kept back for years just trying to get rid of this nagging course…it had the highest failure rate in the faculty and across the entire university….you had a better chance passing Cantonese than this God forsaken English course. It was the worst…

    I remember getting my first “F” in life when I submitted my first course work…imagine, the lecturer gave you 1 month to submit 1 paragraph for 10 whole points towards your final grade…and 5 people out of about 60 got a Grade C….2 persons got Grade B…and well the others failed…when the teacher laid out 10 things that resulted in penalties… I realized that I broke every single rule on that list…in each sentence that I wrote…(e.g. – who in their right mind knows that to use the words “Fried Chicken” is not grammatically correct??…and don’t lie… in fact I wont give the answer. If ever you want to know the answer, leave a comment on this blog and I will send it to you).
    FD10A was simply put….Mathematically Correct English…it was a course that someone can score 100 out of 100…(They would have built a statue of that person and named an entire wing of the university after that person though..)…anyhow…my point is…I never get writers block, exam jitters or nervous when staring at a blank page while holding a pencil…so I feel that there is merit in leaving you all who do sometimes experience it….a few things that may be the reason…

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  2. Chad says:

    Possible reasons

    1 – possibly I don’t care enough (this one is for me because I really am not an English/Writer/Literature etc. person)

    2 – I always start at the beginning…even if it means giving some sort of historical insight etc.

    3 – I write only what I fully understand or have had direct experience with (I write what I know so I do not ever get confused) I write what I have created, not someone else creation (I don’t steal peoples intelligence, emotions etc.)

    4 – I am always fully prepared. I have to be able to say it first, form the picture then break up the picture beginning, middle, end before I can write.

    5 – When I write, I don’t regurgitate… I write in my own words (this helps me discover if I truly understand what I have learnt/read…that’s why I am bad at cramming but good at teaching others… I convert everything to my own words)

    6 – I edit after I have finished

    7 – I write from the heart…the truth

    8 – I personally enjoy sharing, so I am naturally inclined (I have a personality for it)

    9 – I am an honest with my words so they flow naturally, I don’t really have to think too much

    10 – I try out different styles (well I don’t know what to call it in Journalism language…but sometimes to add a little to the writing I refer to things weird…like e.g. – I may say Chad instead of I…that kinda thing)

    I hope this helps anybody…and really….”Fried Chicken” is not grammatically correct mathematically…

    Chad – Hawaii

    Like

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