How to Start Writing

Overcoming writing difficulties

If writing is easy for you, skip this section! This section is for people who find it difficult to write. If you're this person, writing can feel like such a daunting task. It's difficult to find the right way to express your thoughts. Writing, like any skill, gets easier the more you practice. It's toughest at first, then over enough iterations, you start to become more efficient.

If you're looking for tips on how to improve your writing, check out this great guide on how to write well.

Let's dive into ways you can overcome common writing roadblocks.

Write first, edit later

Perfection is the enemy of done. If you try to make every sentence perfect, you'll never finish. Instead, give yourself the leniency to just start writing. Accept that you're not going to like the vast majority of what you write. Give yourself the permission to write less than perfectly. Do this so you can free yourself from the burden of having to like your own work when you're just trying to get your ideas down.

When you've written down the major components, then - and only then - do you go back and edit. Here your critical eye can come forth. Cut and rebuild as you see fit. It even helps to spend some time away from your work. Don't edit until a few days after you've written your draft.

Breaking down the process into two parts like this allows you to separate out the generation process from the editing process. Each can work somewhat independently.

Read things you enjoy

Read things you enjoy to get inspired. When you're inspired, you're motivated to write naturally. Don't press yourself to read only "professional" non-fiction if it isn't fun. Read whatever captures your interest, whether that's kid books, fiction, mystery. The more fun and enjoyable writing becomes to you, the easier it will be for you to commit to writing.

Change your environment

If you're facing writer's block, try switching scenery! Writer's block is a hard thing to consistenly cure. There's no guaranteed way, but it often helps to change up your scenery a bit. When you move environments, you start to pay attention to different things. Your brain is less focused on the thing it can't do, and more on the new simuli. By becoming distracted, you open your mind up to new ways to overcome what's causing your writer's block.

You'll want a place that's different, but not too different. It needs to have some novelty so that you are somewhat distracted from your current course. But it can't be too novel, otherwise you'll have a really hard time focusing. The sweet spot is somewhere inbetween. For example, some people really enjoy the enviroment of a coffee shop. There's some random ambient noise - a little music, quiet chatter, others working, coffee brewing - and this simuli helps them occupy a productive headspace.