Everyone has a story to tell, but a lot of people are stuck when it comes to writing. Let’s look at how to jumpstart your writing process.
Working in fast-paced creative environments where you are not allowed to be stuck when you have a deadline and must deliver on time has its advantages. For one, it teaches you how to get over, go through, dive under, and get around writer’s block.
For another, it teaches you to go with your instinct and not judge or edit as you create.
However, many people don’t have the luxury of working in a place where procrastination is not an option. Too often, procrastination wins, and the result is that many ideas have yet to be born.
Let’s reverse that trend. Let’s get you writing in the next few minutes. Odds are, you are already writing something today. You have likely written a message on Facebook or texted a friend. You are writing a story. This is what we do all the time.
Now move that over into a Word document or a note app on your phone, and you will have the beginning of a story.
Some of you felt a lump in your throat just now. That’s too easy, you say. I can’t do that, you say. I don’t have anything to say, you add. All three of these statements are defeater beliefs–they defeat you before you even start. All three can be crushed in a few minutes, and you can start writing right now.
Here is a quick overview of how you can jumpstart your writing (whether it’s a song, a poem, a short story, a novel, etc.). We will go into them each in depth in the following few articles.
First, you must Wake Up. The time is now to wake up to the importance of your life journey and the necessity that you share it.
Second, learn to Treasure Others. Look around you: who is struggling, and what are they struggling with? Whoever they are and whatever they do, they need your time and your story because they are fellow travelers in this crazy life.
And third, don’t avoid it, but Transform Conflict. Revealing flaws or failures to others can be embarrassing. Yet, people need to hear how you overcame that job loss or succeeded in writing your first novel.
On the surface, you might think: how will these three things help me? I felt that the first time I heard them. I wanted eight tips on structuring my plot, sixteen points of character development, or five beats of the scene. But here’s the reality: if you aren’t sure you should be writing; or that you have anything to say; or that others will benefit; if you aren’t willing to face the conflict of not having enough time and not enough creativity, no amount of plotting tricks will help you.
Before we go into more detail about each point, let me give credit where credit is due. The writings of a brilliant screenwriter and thinker, Ron Austin, inspired these three points. His book, IN A NEW LIGHT, is magnificent, encouraging, and eye-opening for writers and filmmakers. He lays out these three ideas as ways to connect with other artists who think differently and as ways to better relate to your story.
I am modifying them and making them keys to overcoming the excuses we use not to write. I hope he won’t mind–they seem to be ways to overcome many things in life. If you use them, I promise you will jumpstart your writing and be on your way to creating.
In the next post, we will go into Waking Up–what it means, how to do it, and why it will change your writing (and life) forever.