Whether you are a seasoned writer, or new to the world of words, we all dread getting started. Started on that blog, report, article, e-mail response, letter to your colleague, or an overdue thank you note. We share the stress of finding exactly the right words, organized in precisely the right sequence to convey the thought we want to express. The motivation to write is different for everyone, but for simplicity sake, I will give you three options:
- start at the end
- start in the middle
- start at the beginning
What? This isn’t making any sense. How can you start in the middle?
Start at the beginning…
Starting at the beginning is scary because it is a blank sheet of paper or an empty computer screen. In that case, the only thing to do is begin. Julie Andrews sang, “When you read you begin with A, B, C. When you sing you begin with do re mi.,” in the Sound of Music. Well, put your pen to paper, or fingers on the keyboard and begin…start already!
You will be out of the freeze frame of inaction and actually writing. Give yourself permission to have a lousy first draft. Set the timer for five minutes and let the words tumble out. Make a list of words or phrases associated with your topic. Remember, if you edit as you write, it will take a very long time to complete anything. Jump in and do it!
Start in the middle…
Pretend you have already written the entire piece and talk about the heart of the matter. Explain your viewpoint with every detail you can possibly include in the argument. Perhaps you tell a story to illustrate your point, or include a favorite quote. Allow your readers to accompany you in your thought process and learn how you came to your conclusion.
Start at the end…
When you write your conclusion first, you know how to create your supporting statements. Yes, this is backwards. Think of it as knowing your destination before you start out on the journey. You have already determined where you want your readers to end up, now you simply present a logical map for your readers to follow.
I always begin by writing in my journal to get ideas about my theme, quotes I may include, and what my first sentence should include. Once I know that first line, I’ve got a tone and a direction for the entire piece. But, that’s just me.
Regardless of the method to your writing system, whatever gets you writing is the best darn system on the planet.
Now, go write…
By the way, we’re celebrating International Idea Month…when you have a great idea…write it down! Let’s hear about your writing system.
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