How to start writing?

There are as many answers to this as there are questions. Asking that question may be the first step to your future as a writer.

The lightbulb moment

The moment that lightbulb goes on in your head and you have the revelation that you would like to write, maybe a letter, a poem, a short story, a children’s book, a memoir or even a full blown fiction novel and you pick up a pen, you are a writer. 

Now it is time to bend your knees, lean over, put your hands out in front of you and dive into the water that is the life blood of an author. Ask yourself what do you think you would like to write about. The following steps will help make that decision. Tiny steps. You are unique, as will be your writing.

All writers I have come across say, first, that they read a lot. The second is that they write a lot. Not novels but they practice the art of writing. There are “prompts” that can give you the push to put pen to paper. For example: Remember that funny story when your uncle made that toast at your sister's wedding, or the time you won the diving competition or when you acted in that great play in high school, or the time your father overcooked the Thanksgiving turkey. Each of us have hundreds of little moments in our lives that stand out. Write about one. If you enjoy it and have a bit of a giggle, write another and then maybe another. This is how family memoirs are created.

There is another saying around the writing world, “Write drunk, edit sober”. It really just means write, write, write. Don’t worry if you misspell something or don’t have the right grammar or don’t know where the apostrophe goes. Just write. All the other stuff will be fixed in editing.

If your family stories are so wild you couldn’t possibly share them with the public, there are other things that can prompt you. Look about you and describe the room you are in or look out a window and describe what you see. Write about why that pen you are using feels so special and is your favourite. Write about the barber or hair dresser that last did your hair and how you feel about the job they did. I’m sure you are starting to get the point here. The real answer to writing is just write about anything. The memoirs though, are pretty much pre written stories that just need to be put to paper. You may never publish them but they are a bit of history that I am sure the rest of your family would love to read.

If you are really stuck though, there are massive numbers of sites on line that offer writing prompts for free. If you find absolutely nothing there and are ready to give up STOP and do this. Email me. Yes I said email me at . Put “I need a prompt Don” in the subject line and I will email you a prompt. You must relax and write what I suggest, then email it back to me though. I love to read too.