23 Aug Q&A: How to Take the Fear Out of Writing
Question: I don’t know where to begin.
Answer: One of the participants asked me this question last weekend in my travel memoir course. She said she felt overwhelmed. My advice, start really small. Using post-it notes brainstorm what you think you want to include in your story – or memoir. Using post-it notes is less scary and fun so that’s a good way to start. Then stick your notes on a piece of paper or your white board. Every time you have some time to write, pick one of the things written down. It might be a scene, or a memory, or climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Just write about that one thing. Aim for 300 words, 500 words. No more. If you make yourself stop at the five hundredth word you will leave yourself hungry. You’ll want to write more. Wait and write the remainder of the piece in your next writing slot.
Start each piece of writing on a new piece of paper. Then after 3 months you might find you have 10 or 15 short pieces written. Print them out and read them. Can you find a theme or a thread? Jigsaw the pieces together and see if a structure starts to emerge. Then do the whole exercise again. Brainstorm what comes next…
This takes the fear out of writing, promise.