Writing Tip: Start writing

fountain pen on page of writing

When I used to teach classes to beginning writers, it was good.  It forced me to think back to the beginning to when I first put pen to paper.  The thing is, every time we sit down and face the blank page, it’s the same.  Every time we start a new piece of writing, we doubt that we can do it again.  A new journey with no map – like setting off towards the horizon alone in a boat and the only thing another person can do to help is to wave from the shore.

So when I used to teach a creative writing class, I had to tell them the story all over again and remember that this is the first time my students are hearing it.  I had to start at the very beginning.

First up, there’s the pen on the page.  You need this intimate relationship between the pen and the paper to get the flow of words happening.  A fountain pen is best because the ink flows quickly.  We think faster than we can write.  It needs to be a “fat” pen to avoid RSI.

Consider, too, your notebook.  It is important.  The pen and paper are your basic tools, your equipment, and they need to be with you at all times.  Choose a notebook that allows you plenty of space to write big and loose.  A plain cheap thick spiral notepad is good.

After that comes the typing up on the computer and printing out a hard copy.  It’s a right and left brain thing.  You engage the right side of the brain, the creative side when you put pen to paper, then bring in the left side, the analytic side, when you edit the print out as you settle back comfortably with a drink (a cup of tea, even) and read what you’ve written.

Patrick White said that writing is really like shitting; and then, reading the letters of Pushkin a little later, he found Pushkin said exactly the same thing.  Writing is something you have to get out of you.

typing writing on a pink background

Whether writing a story or writing a blog, start writing, no matter what.

18 thoughts on “Writing Tip: Start writing

  1. Perfect! I find writing longhand to be magical for first drafts as well as rewrites of longer sections. It can seem counterintuitive in this busy world but ends up adding much quality and saving time in the end.

    The ‘just begin’ tale is essential as well- I need repeated reminding of it. Thank you 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was one of those students you mentioned and the piece of advice you gave specifically to me was to “read John Banville”. I have. And I find that the the fluidity and inventiveness of his prose has a magical ability to unlock something in my head, sending me careering through the corridors of a huge mansion, flinging open doors to rooms I hadn’t previously known existed. This morning, just two hundred words of his gave me 700 words of my own. But therein lies the problem. I am currently reading The Blue Guitar – the last of my stash. I have read everything else he has written, even as Benjamin Black, and I don’t know what I am doing to do when my stash runs out. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wow! that’s amazing, that you were one of my students and that you’ve read everything written by John Banville. i’m so pleased my recommendation really worked for you. 700 words this morning. well done you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. yes, i agree. i LOVE my special fountain pens. i have one by the bed and one in my handbag at all times, fountain pens that is. they flow so beautifully when i keep them upside down 🙂
      btw, how did your launch go? did you post about it on WordPress?


  3. A new journey with no map the words that define me with a blank paper and a pen. It’s an excellent advice I have come across in last few days and hope you will keep sharing these wonderful tips now and then. And the closing line is wonderful; start writing whatever it is.

    Liked by 1 person

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