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Begin the Writing Process with these 5 Powerful Strategies

Begin the Writing Process

Begin the Writing Process – One Word at a Time

Use these 5 powerful strategies to begin the writing process to your advantage. To begin the writing process can often be the most challenging part for writers. Many of us struggle to find the perfect opening line or get stuck in a state of writer’s block.

However, it’s essential to accept that writing is an iterative process, and perfection comes through revisions. In this article, we will explore five effective strategies to help you kick-start your writing process and overcome common hurdles.

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Strategy 1: Develop a Compelling Synopsis

DEVELOP A COMPELLING SYNOPSISTo begin, engage in a conversation about your story with someone whether it’s a friend, a relative, or even a stranger at a bar. As you discuss your ideas, a synopsis will naturally form in your mind. Take this synopsis and write it down on paper, addressing key elements such as the main characters, conflict, resolution, and the story’s beginning, middle, and end. This exercise allows your ideas to flow freely and provides a solid foundation for your writing journey.

Here are five bullet points showing examples of how to develop a compelling synopsis:

  • Introduce the main character and their goal: John, a struggling musician, embarks on a journey to find his lost passion for music.
  • Establish the conflict: Along the way, he encounters a rival musician who challenges him to a high-stakes music competition.
  • Outline the rising action: John must overcome self-doubt, reconnect with his love for music, and prepare for the ultimate showdown.
  • Highlight the climax: In the final performance, John delivers an awe-inspiring musical performance that captivates the audience.
  • Conclude with the resolution: Through his journey, John rediscovers his purpose, finds success, and embraces his true identity as a musician.

Strategy 2: Embrace Handwriting for Initial Drafting

EMBRACE HANDWRITING FOR INITIAL DRAFTConsider the power of handwriting your story before typing it out digitally. Grab a pen and pad, and let your hand guide the narrative. Writing by hand enhances memory retention, clarity of thought, and focus. Embrace the freedom of letting your ideas flow without crossing things off or worrying about mistakes. Remember, this is your first draft, a raw expression of your creativity. Take short breaks to prevent hand cramps and resume writing, allowing the story to unfold naturally.

Here are five bullet points showing examples of how embracing handwriting can enhance your initial drafting:

  • Engage your senses: Feel the pen in your hand, experience the texture of the paper, and let the physical act of writing stimulate your creativity.
  • Enhance memory and retention: Studies have shown that handwriting improves memory recall, allowing you to remember details and ideas more effectively.
  • Boost focus and concentration: By eliminating digital distractions, such as notifications or internet browsing, handwriting keeps you fully immersed in your writing process.
  • Embrace the freedom to explore: Handwriting encourages a more spontaneous and uninhibited writing style, enabling you to tap into your authentic voice.
  • Unleash creativity: The tactile experience of handwriting often leads to unexpected connections and innovative ideas that may not emerge while typing on a keyboard.

If you want to look into the psychology of handwriting vs. typing, then click here to read an article written by Travis Dixon published in January 20th 2023.

RELATED: Benefits of Handwriting

Strategy 3: Start with the Biography of the Protagonist/Antagonist

START WITH THE BIO OF THE CHARACTERSAn effective strategy to begin the writing process is to focus on developing the biography of your protagonist or antagonist. Start by writing down the character’s first and last name at the top of the page. Then, write their personal background, including details like their place of birth, age at the time of the story, physical characteristics, education, and family life. By understanding your character’s history and motivations, you can establish a strong foundation for their journey within the story.

Here are five bullet points showing examples of how to create a compelling biography for your protagonist or antagonist:

  • Personal details: Describe the character’s personality traits, quirks, and preferences that make them unique and relatable to readers.
  • Motivations and goals: Explore their inner desires, dreams, and what drives them to take action or confront obstacles throughout the story.
  • Backstory and experiences: Highlight significant events from their past that have shaped their beliefs, fears, or strengths, adding depth and authenticity to their character.
  • Relationships and connections: Outline the character’s relationships with other key individuals in the story, including family, friends, or adversaries.
  • Inner conflicts and growth: Identify the internal struggles or flaws the character must overcome to achieve personal growth and transformation.

These strategies will help you create multidimensional and engaging characters, setting the stage for a captivating story. Remember to integrate the biography seamlessly into the narrative, revealing relevant details gradually to maintain readers’ curiosity and investment in the characters’ journeys.

Strategy 4: Start with a Memory

START WITH MEMORYAnother effective approach to kick-start the writing process is by beginning with a memory. Whether you’re working on fiction or nonfiction, tapping into the power of memories can provide a strong foundation for your story. Memories offer insights into their past experiences, emotions, and can serve as a catalyst for character development.

Start by using phrases like “I remember…” to evoke a sense of nostalgia and establish a background for your character.

Here are five bullet points showing examples of how to utilize memories to initiate your story:

  • Emotional connections: Select a memory that holds strong emotional significance for your character, as it can shape their perspectives and motivations throughout the narrative.
  • Flashbacks: Use vivid descriptions to transport readers back to a specific moment, allowing them to relive the memory alongside your character.
  • Triggers: Explore how certain events or objects trigger memories, leading your character to reflect on past experiences that are relevant to the story’s themes or conflicts.
  • Foreshadowing: Introduce a memory that hints at future events or reveals key information, building anticipation and curiosity for readers.
  • Contrast: Utilize memories that juxtapose the present circumstances, highlighting the character’s growth or showcasing a stark contrast in their experiences.

By incorporating memories into your writing, you can create a deeper connection between readers and your characters. Memories provide a glimpse into their personal histories, adding layers of complexity and authenticity to their actions and decisions. Remember to seamlessly integrate memories into the narrative flow, ensuring they serve a purpose in driving the story forward.

Strategy 5: Write the Ending First

WRITE THE ENDING FIRSTWriting the ending first may seem unconventional, but it can be an effective strategy for jumpstarting your writing process. When you have a clear vision of how you want your story to conclude, it provides you with a roadmap for developing the plot and crafting a compelling narrative. By knowing the destination, you can work backward to establish the necessary building blocks to reach that satisfying ending.

Here are five bullet points showcasing the advantages and examples of starting with the ending:

  • Plot development: Writing the ending first allows you to shape the plot more effectively. You can introduce foreshadowing, plot twists, and character arcs that lead to the desired conclusion.
  • Tension and suspense: Knowing the ending gives you the opportunity to strategically build suspense and create tension throughout the story, keeping readers engaged and eager to discover how the events unfold.
  • Character growth: By envisioning the ending, you can develop your characters in a way that aligns with their growth and transformation throughout the narrative.
  • Symbolic elements: The ending often represents the culmination of themes and motifs in a story. Starting with the ending enables you to infuse symbolic elements into the narrative from the beginning, adding depth and resonance.
  • Seamless storytelling: When you have a clear understanding of the ending, you can seamlessly weave the story’s elements, ensuring that each scene and chapter contributes to the overall arc.

Writing the ending first provides a solid foundation for your storytelling, guiding your creative decisions and ensuring a cohesive and satisfying narrative structure. It allows you to approach the beginning of the story with confidence, knowing the direction in which you are headed.

As with any writing process, flexibility is key, and you may find that some adjustments are necessary along the way. However, having a defined ending in mind empowers you to craft a compelling and well-rounded story.

Recommended Books and Media on How to Begin the Writing Process

Books

First You Write a Sentence by Joe Moran: A meditation on the art and craft of sentences in the English language, offering practical advice on how to write clear, crisp, and compelling sentences, the building blocks of good writing and effective communication.

Process by Sarah Stodola: This book explores the creative routines and peculiar daily habits of great minds, from filmmakers to authors, exploring how these habits contribute to creativity and productivity, giving readers an inside look at the artistic process.

On Writing by Stephen King: A part-memoir, part-master class by one of the most prolific authors of our time, offering a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, encompassing both the technical aspects of writing and the life experiences that feed the creative process.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield: A motivational guide that addresses the internal obstacles to creativity, termed as ‘Resistance’ by the author, and offers advice for overcoming them to achieve success in the arts and other creative endeavors.

YouTube

Stephen King talks about his writing process during an interview with the Bangor Daily News

Quentin Tarantino Explains His Writing Process

How to write a story | John Dufresne | TEDxFIU

Final Thoughts

Exploring different strategies to begin the writing process can help you overcome initial hurdles and find the inspiration to dive into your story. Whether you choose to start with a synopsis, handwritten drafts, character biographies, memories, or the ending, each approach offers unique benefits and creative possibilities.

Remember, the key is to experiment and find what works best for you as a writer. Embrace the process, trust your instincts, and let your imagination guide you as you embark on the thrilling journey of writing.

Good luck, and may your words flow effortlessly onto the page.