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  • Chloe Page

10 Ways To Get Your Writing Project Going In 2021

A person sits at a wooden table and writes in a diary while surrounded by a pile of books, espresso, polaroids, glasses, and a MacBook.
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Every writer fears a blank page. We overthink our writing projects so much that taking the first step can feel more like a pole vault. But you can’t publish an empty page. We have analysed our years of first-page anxiety to bring you 10 ways to start your writing project.

1. Get to know your project

What is it that you are trying to write? What audience would you like to cater to? Who or what are you taking inspiration from? What do you want to achieve? Whether it is publishing a novel or finally writing that email, you need to know what you want to write and what outcome you’re aiming for.

2. Create an outline

Keeping the above answers in mind, craft an outline of your project. It does not have to be hyper-detailed, but we recommend putting it down on screen or paper to help you stay on track. We know that everyone plans their projects out differently; this is why we have a fun guide to virtually every type of writer if you’re unsure of your planning and writing style.

3. Create a routine or schedule

Consistency is key. While you may take breaks from the project in the middle, what matters most right now is getting started. Think about when you are most productive and your typical schedule; use these to decide when you would like to write and for how long. Whether it is an hour every Saturday and Sunday or 20 minutes before bed each day, try to find something you can stick to. If you're worried about running overtime, simply put on a timer or use a time management technique such as the Pomodoro method.

4. Clear Your Expectations

Having lofty writing goals that you are afraid you can’t reach is part of holding you back from getting that project going. Release any preconceived notions or plans and remember that both your life and writing project will change over time - cut yourself some slack. You may need to change your approach down the line, so allow yourself to be adaptable.

5. Gather your materials

Are you a Google Docs writer? Or maybe you are more of a journal scribbler? Consider what you usually use to write and ensure that you have all of those things in one easy-to-access place. Perhaps even look into new writing programs to help you stay focused or find new methods of transferring your handwritten notes onto a screen.

A person wears a mustard yellow jumper and types on their MacBook at a wooden table.
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

6. Try A Writing Exercise

You have a plan. You have a schedule. Your materials are ready to go. It’s finally time to write - but the blank page is still intimidating you. At this point, we can only suggest throwing some words onto the page and keep writing. Using a prompt or a writing exercise like free-writing can help you make a dent in that blank page. Looking for inspiration? Check our Instagram, and Facebook pages for our writing prompts and tips.

7. Start With That Scene

Your writing muscles are all warmed up, and there is no blank page to scare you - it’s time to get going! But where to start? Writing the first draft is a little bit like being possessed - once you know which idea sets your heart on fire, you just have to get it out. Think of that one scene that makes your heart race with excitement - that is where you should start.

8. Allow Yourself Freedom In Writing

It has been said countless times in the writing community that a good first draft is a finished first draft; this is entirely true. You do not need to create your magnum opus from the get-go. You just need to start writing. Who cares if it’s terrible? That’s what rewriting and editing are for. No-one else will see these pages - let loose and have fun!

9. Write Simply

Some writers get caught up in phrasing everything just right - this is an excellent way to slow yourself down and add unnecessary complications to your first draft. Give yourself permission to write simply - you can always make it fancy later. Even if you have to write a note or colour-code your draft to remember what you want to do later, just focus on getting those brain worms out now.

10. Just Keep Writing

Once you have a few words on the page, you just need to keep going. Don’t let yourself write and edit in the same session; you will only get nervous and distracted seeking perfection. If you get stuck on a description or section of dialogue, write a note on what you want to put there later and keep moving. Keep writing no matter what and let yourself worry about the finer details once the first draft is complete.

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