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Staring at a blank page? How to get started writing your new novel

30 October 2018

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You’re dying to write this new novel. It’s been in your head for months (years, actually). The character, story arc and even the constituent parts of the beginning, middle and end are all there.

Only, they’re not, because you’re staring at a blank page. A blank page that just won’t go away.

It’s worth highlighting that we’re not referring to writer’s block here - this is actually one of the hardest elements of being a novelist; getting started.

The good news is that even the best, most experienced writers on the planet often fail to work out how to get their new novel off the ground. Thankfully, however, there are some tried-and-tested ways to kickstart your next masterpiece, and we’ve picked out five of the best methods.

1. Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect

The main thing that might be holding you back from starting is the fear of failure or a belief that you’re going to take what’s in your head and make an absolute mess of it on paper.

Remember - this doesn’t have to be perfect straight off the bat. Writing is an iterative job; you create the first draft, read, revise and repeat until you’re happy it’s as you want it.

Forget perfection for now - just get writing!

2. Plan when you’re going to write

Finding the best time to write is definitely a personal thing. For you, it might be in the dead of night, while the writer who lives two doors down from you might prefer to plough on first thing in the morning.

Only you can find the sweet spot when it comes to timing your writing for when you’re the most productive and inspired. And, once you know when that is (it should be fairly obvious), you can plan the time in your diary to get writing.

Whatever you do, don’t force yourself to write, because that will only make the problem worse and your heart simply won’t be in it.

3. Change location

Have you been sat at your kitchen table for the last three hours continually starting the first paragraph again and again?

As daft as it sounds, the room might be to blame. Our surroundings greatly impact our creativity and ability to be productive, so if you think you’re going stale or feel suffocated by your surroundings, get up, leave and go write somewhere else - it’ll make a bigger difference than you might think.

4. Speak to someone about your novel idea

Hey, you don’t have to start writing if the words aren’t coming! That’s fine, because at the moment, you have something far more powerful - a brilliant idea.

Like all brilliant ideas, it often pays to run them through with someone else. Grab a friend, work colleague or family member and ask if they fancy chatting through the idea for your novel.

Be honest, open and tell them all about it. If they’re close to you, a conversation will develop and it will spark no end of imagination within. Before you know it, you’ll have all the inspiration you need to get writing - all thanks to someone who knows you can do this!

Wrapping up

It’s never much fun staring at a blank page as a writer, but if you follow our tips above, you’ll find your mojo - we promise. Just don’t rush it and let your writing develop naturally.

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