EppsNet Writing Tips: How to Start

A reader asks:

I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?

Let’s start out assuming that you actually have something to say. If you don’t, that’s okay. Come back later when you do.

The sticking point in starting to write is, in my opinion, trying to do two things at once, i.e., figuring out what you want to say and how you want to say it.

Take it one step at a time. To start with, write it all down like you’re talking to someone. Don’t edit as you go, e.g., “Is this the best word choice?”, “Should I say this before that or that before this?” You will think about all that later. Write like you talk . . . just stream it.

What is your topic? Do you need 10-15 minutes to gather yourself before conversing with someone about it? Probably you don’t.

Once you’ve got it all written down, only then do you start to revise. Write, then revise. Don’t try to write and revise at the same time.

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