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Getting Past the Writing Starting Gate

“When You Can’t Get Started Writing” by Writing English is a great introduction to the old writer’s block or modern day blogger’s block, when you sit down at the computer with motivation but no inspiration.

I can’t tell you how many times people have come to me, holding an empty piece of paper, saying, “I have to write this letter and I don’t know how to begin.”

Whenever I sit down with someone to help them write, the first thing we do is talk. That helps the writer organize and focus on what he wants to say. So if you can’t get started writing, perhaps you can start by talking. When you can explain something clearly to another person, you’ve got the basis for writing it. If you happen to be all alone, that’s okay. Nobody will report you for talking to yourself.

Before we begin, I like to break the task into smaller steps – “doable doses,” as James Taylor calls them in one of his early songs. If writing doesn’t come easily to you, then thinking about the whole thing is too daunting. One little step is “doable”.

Don’t let the blank computer monitor screen intimidate you. There are tons of things to write about, but starting the writing part is hard.

I’m often so full of ideas for things I want to write about, I will race to the computer, start tapping away and then slow down, fade out, and stop. The well runs dry and I’m lost with nothing to write.

I have to ask myself if the original idea was good enough to write about? Was there enough information to talk about, or was it just a good idea?

The traditional format for writing a story is to have a beginning, middle, and end. Sometimes I have a great beginning, decent middle, but no ending. Other times I have a fabulous ending, but I’m not sure how to form that path to get to my destination.

Writing is hard work. Judy Rose’s tips on helping you get started writing are excellent tools to help you think out the process and get clear in your mind what you want to say as well as how you want to say it, filling in the beginning, middle, and end.

I’ll be writing more about blog writing here soon, so stay tuned for the tips and help you need to get past the “how do I start writing” phase.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network


  1. Posted November 5, 2006 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    I write like I would talk. That helps. Then again, it’s just personal. When I want to have a point to whatever I say, writing like what I would talk would often become long winded gibberish.

    That’s where verbal visualizations help.

  2. Posted November 5, 2006 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I can attest to the power of talking it over before writing it.

    Some weeks ago, I had these three rough ideas for things I wanted to write about. They were somewhat related. But I couldn’t decide, I wasn’t sure if they were good ideas or not, and in some way I wanted to use them all in one post, and didn’t know how to do that… So, I “pitched” the three to my husband, asking which one sounded more interesting to him. Which one he would want to read first.

    As I explained my ideas, I realized that I was a little more excited and had more to say about one in particular. My husband confirmed it by selecting that one too. The discussion helped focus my thoughts. I was able to write around the main more interesting idea, and just mention tidbits of the other two. Those other two were not strong enough for a post, but were complementary to the main idea.

    The discussion was a very good exercise.

  3. Posted November 5, 2006 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,
    Thank you for your link to my post “When You Can’t Get Started Writing”. It is gratifying that even now, many weeks after I wrote it, people are still reading it, and finding it helpful. My hits just about doubled too!
    Judy Rose

  4. Posted November 5, 2006 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    I adore your blog, Judy, and may be highlighting more in the future. Keep up the fabulous work!

  5. shafeek
    Posted November 6, 2006 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Judy Rose and Lorelle VanFossen for giving me the chance to read those tips

    i didn’t start my own blog yet ( can’t deny i’m already planning to ) but you make me feel like blogging because i’d love to see people checking what i’ve wrote today and waiting for tomorrow’s article

  6. Posted November 6, 2006 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the kind words, and a bit of a tip. DO NOT use a commercial site, whether you like it or not, for your “name” or website URL when posting a comment. I had to pull some of your other comments out of my spam catching filter because they were thought to be comment spam. Use your name, or a name you make up, and if you don’t have a blog or website, you don’t have to put anything in the blank of the comment form. It won’t hurt you, and in fact, may allow your comment through much easier.

  7. Posted November 17, 2006 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    As a non English speaker (It is my 3rd language.) I am really having issues writing stuff on my blog.(I know no one is visiting it 😦 ).I have great content (IMO) but I really fear about the presentation factor. If it is a long post I am worried as I say sometimes to my friends as things get complex(read bigger/lengthier) the chances of errors(read as to keep focus of the reader) becomes more and more difficult. So partitioning it will help but coordinating those pieces to form a “single” post is “very” hard in my case as I don’t have many loyal readers many comes to my site from search engines. They will just leave after they get what they want.

    Bigger articles are a big NO. Make it short (Write it as different topic Part 1, Part 2 etc) and find a “nice” (“Innovative?”) way to organize and present them before the reader.
    I really find it astonishing why native English speakers are thinking it is too difficult to write.
    From the most famous blogs to geeky blogs I was able to understand everything. So basically the native English speakers are not using their full potential (What is the difference between me and them?).

  8. Posted November 17, 2006 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    Do you want the honest answer? If you don’t, then don’t read farther. 😉

    The content on your blog doesn’t appear to be original. Maybe it is, but at first pass through the first several pages of content, it looks like blockquote references to other people’s stuff. A paragraph or two and a blockquote, especially when you are using a Theme that doesn’t highlight blockquotes visually well, makes it appear like a splog, a blog that uses other people’s content, either by full or partial content, as their content. I didn’t see anything that looked like your opinion, expression, or original thought. Do you write original articles or mostly quote and reference others?

    Trust me, it is better to be the one linked to than the one doing all the linking.

    There are English spelling and punctuation problems, which are troublesome for fluent English readers to struggle with, but not the worst things. Why don’t you write in your own native language? Why English? I’m always stunned by the passionate attempts non-English speakers make to speak and write in English, especially on blogs, when there are so few blogs of quality out there in their own language. Not that they shouldn’t but I’d love to see that same passion available to their fellow native speakers.

    Traffic, readers, and attention comes from creating consistent, quality, and focused original content, even if it is combined occasionally with blockquoted content. Make yourself the “source” for information rather than a referral service and you might get the answers you need to your questions.

  9. Posted November 19, 2006 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I am not interested in writing articles and opinions about what Google will do next OR what is the next lawsuit that targets Microsoft.
    I hate such blogs and do not really like (Nor I do not have any respect to them).Because it will not give the user any thing, the companies may get profit but I don’t get anything, why waste time.
    I read productivity blogs..I am a spammer?. If you can consider me as a spammer then well-known blogs like Life hacker etc are in company with me.
    I have written about news stories I won’t do that extensively, because it is worthless.I try find original stuff and inform about it in my blog, writing everything from scratch is too much time consuming, and I don’t have enought time for that after all I am not getting something as a return,
    Please don’t consider I am aganist you opinions, I respect you and value your suggestions.

  10. Posted November 19, 2006 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    The key to successful blogging, and in anything, is doing it because the passion drives you to do it. Not because you expect something in return. If you do, you are already failing.

    As for your use of the word “spammer”, I don’t understand your usage of the word.

3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] This article about writers block seemed appropriate as I try to work out where to start with this blog. Writing is hard work […]

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