Stuck at the Start

by Rebekkah Laeuchli

Does this ever happen to you? There’s a story clunking around inside your head but you just can’t seem to get started writing it. Every time you sit down and try, something goes wrong. Want a little help? Try out the suggestions below!

1. You may be having trouble because you are trying to get your opening perfect before moving on. You’ve deleted your first sentences a hundred times because they don’t sound just right. If this is your problem, then you need to forget about it and go on with your story. You can come back to your opening later. Once you have a first rough draft of the story written out, you’ll then have a foundation to build on. Then it may be easier to polish up those beginning sentences.

2. Ok, so you’ve tried to get a rough draft. But the story just doesn’t seem to come! No matter how you try to begin nothing flows. So skip the beginning! Try going to a different scene and write that. You could even start with the end if you want, or somewhere half way or two-thirds of the way through. Once you have *something* of your story written down, you may be able to get some of those other parts that have been so stubborn.

3. This isn’t working. You still can’t write that story. In this case, you might want to try and leave off for a while and come back later. Let the story sit around, maybe start on a new one. Then when you try again on this one you may find that it comes easily! Not only that, but you may be able to do an even better job than you could’ve done earlier. Sometimes story characters will become more clear in your mind and develop more if you let them alone for a while. Or some new idea will pop into your brain that will really add to your story.

Stories have a way of pestering you to write them down, whether on paper or on your computer screen. I know how irritating it can be to have trouble getting started, and these methods sometimes help me. I hope they help you!

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