Thoughts on Writing: Part 1

Before I published my first post here, I found and bookmarked an article from a publication that I follow. The article was about writing, and featured a list of questions about personal writing habits. I decided that I wanted to cover my own answers to these questions, but instead of leaving a single, long comment on the article, I’ll be making a series to work through them.

There are a few that I won’t be addressing, as they don’t apply to me. But I want to cover as many of them as I can.

This will be the first of many posts answering the questions provided.

[*Disclaimer: while the article in question may have been referring to non-fiction, I’ve decided to respond in regard to my experiences writing both fiction and nonfiction.]

Question #1: What’s your biggest hurdle in starting to write? Daring to pick up a pen? Not appreciating that you have a story to tell? Not feeling able to express yourself in words?

My biggest hurdle when it comes to writing is feeling like I have too many thoughts in my head. I have a hard time pinning down one specific piece of my stories, and I’m never sure where to begin. So instead of getting anything accomplished, I stare at a blank page or find something else to do (endlessly scrolling social media comes to mind).

Knowing this, however, and being aware of my struggle with writing, doesn’t make it any easier to solve the problem. What do you do when you don’t know what to write? How do you sort out the myriad bits and bobs and fragments, and shape them into something usable?

Perhaps I need to focus more on world-building, on figuring out my characters and where they fit in the world. Maybe then their story will stop changing, and I can finally finish another piece of fiction.

This lends itself to the obvious solution of writing prompts, but we’ll get to that in a future article.