A blank word document or a blank moleskin journal can be an intimidating, soul-crushing experience. Especially if you encounter such a thing with a brilliant idea for a novel or movie, or even just a funny autobiographical tale. When your mind goes blank and your fingers just don’t want to type, you can suddenly find your self in a bad state of mind that will never let you get any work done. You procrastinate and procrastinate until you completely give up on your amazing story, that idea that once made you smile to yourself. There is a reason why writers often refer to a project as their “baby”: A story is something you create for yourself, to watch and see it grow and become its own thing. So, it’s a little like heartbreak for you when you give up on one.
But you can change that. If you can think it up, you can certainly write. The power is in you to finish your projects, to stick it out with your baby. Better to have something completed than to have nothing. Here are five great ways to help you not only get started on your story or script, but help you complete it!
1. Write Everyday
You are probably rolling your eyes at this one. But it does help. Writing everyday does not mean working on your one project every day, but rather, is meant to encourage you to get into the habit of writing and to learn the mechanics of it. Your writing for the day can entail a one-sentence journal entry about a date. It can be a study of how your boss picks his/her nose when they think no one is looking. It can be a review about a terrible movie you saw. It can be an exercise in technical writing; how to make a proper cappuccino or how to assemble the perfect blanket fort. It can be a childish, rhyming poem. As you do this, you will become more and more familiar with grammar, syntax, your own style etc. With time, you will find yourself better able to describe people/places/things.
2. Write With Different Tools
Some writers just need a good leather-bound journal and fountain pen. Some writers need a mac book pro, wi-fi and the latest version of word. Use and experience all the different tools for writing: home computer, laptop, pen and paper, type-writer. Find out which tool you feel most at ease with. You might prefer being bent over a laptop on your bed. But if you have back problems, use a desk computer. Writing takes time and so you want your body comfortable while doing it.
3. Write In Different Places
Write at home, write at a local Starbucks, write at a library, write in the park etc. If you can’t concentrate with loud noises or chatter, stick to home. Create yourself a home office. But if you find that you rather like the mindless background noise or the routine of saying hi to the local barristas before settling into your work, make Starbucks your office. Again, you want to feel as comfortable as possible when writing.
4. Write At Breakfast
Wake early. Have breakfast. Write until noon. Develop a routine. Do not be afraid to think of your writing as a job; it is. If you want to have the satisfaction of completing a project, you need to start taking it seriously. If you can wake up early for class or to go to your part-time job, you can wake up early to write. Putting off your writing until after work or class will make you less motivated to get something done. You do not want to arrive to your writing project already mentally and physically exhausted. Waiting until the afternoon or night to get work done is just a plain, bad idea – a day’s events can weigh on your mind and prevent you from concentrating to your fullest. So arrive to it stress-free, your mind and body refreshed from sleep.
5. Write To Have Fun
And once again, you are probably rolling your eyes. Didn’t the last thing tell you to think of your writing project as a job? But truth is, you need to be enjoying the writing process as well. It’s not worth it if you are absolutely hating it all. Even when you get insecure about whether your style is good or bad, you still enjoy your characters or the story you are telling, or the small jokes you put in it. So if you ever feel like your story is going no where and you do not like what is happening to your characters or that you just simply detest the writing, stop. Take a breather. Ask yourself why you do not like it. Why do I not like this character anymore? Why is this ending bugging me? Why can’t I be more descriptive? And then remember…you control it all. You have the power to change things. Don’t like your ending any more? Change it to something that makes you happy. Feel like your story needs more romance? Put it in. Think a scene between two characters is stupid and not necessary? Cut it. Put in more jokes if it amuses you, or murder a character you have come to loathe, should it bring you pleasure. You should be happy to write. And again, you can always stop. And try again the next day.