“I’ve got an idea… but I haven’t got a clue where to start.”
If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard those words! What is that fear of getting started all about? It can be different issues for different people, but the most common reasons I dig out of people are as follows…
People sometimes don’t think they’re good enough to be a writer – as if writing a story, never mind a whole book is something only the elite can do. Remember this – every famous writer had to start somewhere. J.K Rowling was about as poor as a person can be without actually being homeless. Charles Dickens spent some of his childhood doing very unpleasant, dead-end work in a factory. They both had ideas. What made the difference was that they made a start. What you come up with first might not be very good – but I wouldn’t mind betting that those authors’ early attempts would make their famous later selves blush.
Often, that person with an idea hasn’t done any creative writing since they were in school. They feel they’ve forgotten the ‘rules’. How about marathon runners who only began running seriously as adults? It’s the same thing. We can train our brains just as we can train our bodies.
Some people worry that they’re going to get it wrong because they were ‘no good’ at English in school. Writing as an adult, when you get to choose exactly what to write, is completely different from writing in school. You’re not being given marks out of ten any more – you’re being given a chance to put your own voice out there… and having your work checked for you isn’t cheating any more – it’s called editing and proofreading!
Occasionally, it’s as simple as a nervousness about the blank page – that empty new document staring back at you. Just start writing. Write anything. You don’t even have to show anyone that first attempt. The point is that the page won’t be blank any more.
You can always get help. Writers’ Pool is launching on 12th June, 2017 – an online membership to support writers of fiction and creative non-fiction. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join the mailing list.