Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Writers - Just Take The First Step

photo by Chance Agrella

I've heard it said in many ways my different people so I don't know to whom the exact quote is attributable, but it remains as truth. "Take the first step. Do it blindly; you don't have to see the entire staircase to climb it."
So, why am I telling you this? 
Well, because so many writers get caught up in some loop consisting of "I want to write, I have a great story to tell, BUT I don't have the time, I don't know how to write, I can't put the ideas together..."or whatever else they come up with. Excuses, reasons, ways to avoid taking that first step. 
You're a writer, you have the opportunity to create worlds and/or destroy them.  The only thing required of you is that you  make it believable 
But lo, the distractions are many.  You need that second cup of coffee.  You pass the Wii in order to get it and suddenly you're into the game you didn't finish last night. Or maybe you have a day job, or you just remembered a friend's birthday and have to run out for a gift, or you have dinner to prepare, or any of many other distractions.

But here's the thing.  You're a writer.  The words may be in yur head, but you MUST write them down in order to spin your new world into being.

So motivate yourself. Take the first step. And that step can be anything.  You can simply decide what your story is meant to be; a book? a script? a pilot for a TV series, a short story?  Which? Nothing is ever etched in stone as far as writing goes these days (you aren't wielding a chisel for Pharoah) so you can always change your mind later, but for a starter, decide.

Now that's out of the way, whether you decided that ten minutes ago, a hour, or last week, you can take that  decision and make your next move.

Write something down.  Anything. Put some words up there on your computer screen (or if you're old fashioned, write in your notebook). Start by writing down things that are trapped in your head about this story.  Maybe you want to use a certain location, perhaps you have characters' names in mind along with background information.  Got a plot twist idea already? Write it down. It doesn't matter how little you have in some areas of your idea or how much research would lay haead, write down the simple things you know about the story you want to create.

Write anything at all, but keep it simple and get those words up before your eyes.

And, if you're one of those writers who get ideas in floods, if you're overwhelmed and confused as to how to get that story out onto paper, do the same thing.  Choose one simple aspect of what you're creating and write it down.

So, if you're working with characters in your story, just write down your character's first and last name.  If you don't have the name yet, but know all about the character, either make up a 'place holder' name quickly, or call him something like 'hero' 'hero's side-kick' or whatever. The right name will come to you later, and you DO have a find and replace tool for that eventuality on your computer.

With the name or placeholder in place, write down one thing you know about your characer - something about who this character is right now. Something like he's a lawyer or she's divorced. Or he's opening a fast-food restaurant. This is a great way to get yourself moving. Don't worry about your backstory right now, that'll come later, just get things written down. And if you're one of those 'idea flood' people feeling like  you're drowning in confusion, this process will help you to focus and eliminate a lot of the details that are hiding your character from you.  Those details will be valuable later, but not now.

If you don't have a character yet, just start with what you do have in your head - the place where the story takes place? Here? Another planet? Suburbia? Big City?

If you have a place, write that down and then write down one thing you know about that place - followed by another. Use the same process as mentioned above.

Then, if you had a place, but no character, go to character next.  If you had character, but no place, go to place next.

If you break the process into steps, things come together much more easily. One thing generally leads to another.

Once you have character and place, define the problem for your main character. You may already have this in your head.  Now's the time to write it down.

Keep writing stuff down.  Keep making stuff up.  You're a writer, that's what you're supposed to do. And don't worry about doing it 'right' or 'good'.  The polishing to better and best comes later. You can correct and polish, but you have to write it down first.  You can make anything you've written better, but if it's stuck in your head that's where it'll stay.

So get started. Write something down. And if you keep yourself in the present, create your world, fill in the details after you establish the bones, you'll have a sound foundation and gain control of your world. 

So write. And do it now.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Other Posts Of Interest:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...