First Steps

January 12, 2018

 

 

The hardest part of any journey is taking that first step. It's hard. It's scary. I know. I've been writing for more than 20 years, and putting down that first word on paper still makes me nervous. 

 

Why? We hinge everything on that first word and sentence. Everything that follows it: the action, the character development, the essence of a story, seems to begin with that first thought we put on paper. What if it doesn't work? 

 

Ok. Let's just take the pressure off for a moment and look at that last question: What if it doesn't work? What if everything falls apart and nothing makes sense? What if nothing of value comes after that first sentence? So what if it does. Crumble up the paper. Throw it across the room. Or in today's world, reach for the delete key. It's there. Use it. Then, start again. 

 

I've run through dozens of "first lines" on everything I've written. The truth is, something they simply don't work. That's okay. The key is -- write something. Get started. If it doesn't work, write something else. That first step is nothing more than to get you moving, writing, dreaming, working. Soon you'll be running without even giving that first line another thought. 

 

As Nike says, "Just do it."

WRITING PROMPT:  Take an idea you have for a story you haven't started yet. Close your eyes. What is the first scene that pops into your head? Start there. On a piece of paper (or on your computer screen), begin writing that scene. Don't stop to think about it. Just write. Dump everything in your imagination onto that page whether it makes sense or not. After 5 minutes (or 10), stop writing. Look over what you have. Highlight what you like and cross out what you don't. Can you use anything in your story? If so, great! Start there. If not, that's okay. You've just spent a few minutes clearing your mind of what doesn't work. Start again. 

 

 

 

 

 

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ABOUT ME

CAROLYN BENNET FRAISER is a published writer and creative writing instructor in Brevard, North Carolina, where she enjoys helping youth find their passion for writing. 

Carolyn is available to speak to children and youth about creative writing at your school or special event. 

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