Don’t start at the beginning

Funny how one needs to keep re-learning stuff.  A friend was consulting me about a piece of writing she wanted to do.  What order to put things in?  What tense would be best?  Where would she begin?   I suggested that it was much too early to concern herself with this and that she should get as much down just as it comes, either on post-it notes or by mapping with coloured pens on large sheets of paper.  Whatever technique she uses, the point is to get the flow going, happy writing it’s sometimes called.  The ordering and sorting comes later.   Start writing whatever has the most buzz for you when you pick up the pen or sit down at the keyboard.

That’s why I’ve been stuck she said, I’ve been trying to structure it first.  I remember now being told not to start at the beginning. 

She just needed someone to remind her of what she already knew.

Now all I need to do is take my own advice.  I’m trying to write an article at the moment and I’m a bit bogged down.  I did splurge out ideas just as they came but then I didn’t return to the piece for several days.  I’ve lost the flow but there isn’t enough order yet.  So I’m going back to the drawing board so to speak.  I’ll do a cluster map to find again the heart of what I’m trying to say; I’ll compare it with the material I’ve got and see how I can shape it all up.

Don’t start at the beginning.  Jump into the middle and write your way out.

1 Response to “Don’t start at the beginning”


  1. 1 chris September 19, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Always thought “The Professionals” on TV (aeons ago) did this well – if you went to make a cup of tea before it began you were doomed because they put in so much plot stuff before the titles…


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