For most, writing begins with inspiration. Something ignites our imagination, and we’re off, jotting down our ideas like a lovestruck youth. There’s no room for doubt, only the wonderful song that fills our thoughts, and the effortless flow of words as we race to keep up. Eventually the song fades, but the memory lingers. For some that’s enough. They may dabble in writing from time to time, but if inspiration doesn’t find them then they’re content to wait, and focus on other things.
On a basic level all stories are a combination of 4 components; characters, a plot, a setting, and one or more ideas, which in this case refer to the underlying questions being explored. Ideas can be as simple as “how will the protagonist accomplish their goal”, or as complex as the purpose or meaning of life.
Use What You Have
Most stories start small; a character, a conflict, an interesting place. Whichever piece you have, start with that and build out.
Finding the Time
Choose how you’re going to write, whether you prefer to carry a pen and notebook, a recorder to speak into, or a portable computer or smart phone that you can type with. Make sure that whatever you choose fits your needs. It should be small enough for you to comfortably carry it with you and it should be your preferred method or medium for writing. With portable tools you can write anywhere; while waiting for an appointment or meeting, during a break or intermission, or when inspiration randomly strikes.
There will be times when you don’t know what to write, or just don’t feel like writing. It’s easy to find other things to do instead of writing. Other times you may feel exhausted or suffer a headache. Here are a few common causes and solutions for writer’s block.
Develop a Routine
1. Find a time at least once a week where you can set aside at least 30 minutes to write.
2. Find a place where you won’t be interrupted, indoors or outdoors. Don’t choose a place where you regularly do something else like play games or sleep. A work space is preferable.
3. Decide if you prefer to type on a computer or write on paper.
4. Start with some free writing. Don’t worry about the quality; just write continuously for a few minutes. Babble onto the page.