How To Begin Writing Your Story–Part 1


How To Begin ‘Chapter 1′

There are myriad ways to get an idea on paper, whether you’ve settled on a short story, poem, novel or anything else. However, all those myriad ways begin with one word, the first… with one line, the first sentence… with one paragraph, and so on.

To end up big, you need to start out small.

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As with everything in Life, the influence of Time cannot be forgotten. You need to take at least five minutes off your inordinately busy schedule to get a few words on paper, be it literal parchment or a digital one like a Word document.

The title I’ve used "How To Begin ‘Chapter 1’" is merely an idea that really encompasses the starting of any written work you can think of. Excluding business and office-related projects, to begin a work of fiction you’ll need these three attributes.

The Needs

1. Guts: A lot of courage goes into an act of creation because the moment you decide to rely on your imagination, experience, facts and instinct to craft a story that communicates a meaning to people around you, even just yourself, you’ll need first to face down any fear of disappointment. That level of courage is easy, once you give a damn about what everyone else is going to say about you writing and just start writing because you want to and because you can.

2. Patience: Many an editing, re-reading and proof checking (among other things) will certainly follow your rough draft. If you’re assuming great writers like Jeffrey Archer, J.K.Rowling, James Rollins, Nicholas Sparks, J.R.R.Tolkien, J.R.R.Martin, Nora Roberts, Stephenie Meyer, David Baldacci, Terry Goodkind, and hundreds of other ‘creators’ simply make perfection in the first draft alone, you’re a fool to even consider that notion. They take hours, days, weeks, months and sometimes even years to hone a work of art and beat it into shape, other times even coax it out of the shadows and into the light of well-written prose. Your fictional story may take shorter or longer but it won’t survive the run if you, its creator, don’t have patience.

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3. Calm: Whatever you do, stave off panic. The second it comes upon you like some ominous fog in wintertime, find a less dense area, lighten your spirits and don’t give panic any room to creep into your heart and mind. Panic is poison, it kills creativity, makes you hasty, encourages unnecessary errors, and also forces you to do ten times the work only to end up with something of terrible quality. Calm is what you need before venturing on an adventure and sharing it with the world.

The Tricks

Now that you know what emotions to feel and what thoughts to keep at bay, the next trick—for it is indeed a trick—you’ll need to learn is to fool yourself into writing. Yes, you read it right. As temporarily inspiring as those words you read earlier could have made you feel, when it comes right down to it, to a practical level, nobody ever really has what it takes to write. Does that mean they should give up, turn tail and run away? Nope, it means they’ve got to trick themselves into it.

For instance, when you’re going about doing your daily chores, suddenly and for no apparent reason, stop, pick up a notepad or open a word document on your computer or laptop and write something. In similar ways, I’m sure you can come up with far better tricks to fool yourself into writing. After all, you know yourself better than anyone.

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The Success

Once you begin, or at least ten minutes in, you’ll get what they call a ‘flow’. Once on that boat, you’ll be swept away into the world residing in your imagination while writing it out in reality, soon to be read by people, loved, remembered and appreciated.

Sometimes when you feel ‘blocked’ or unable to frame an idea, don’t force it if forcing doesn’t help get it out after, say, the first couple of tries. Go do something else, eat, read, nap, watch a movie or show, walk, exercise, whatever, just let the idea come to you.

Once you’ve completed Chapter 1, give yourself a pat on the back but by no means celebrate. Repeat the process, use your imagination to come up with fresh ways to continue with Chapter 2 and get re-started.

If you wish to stop and edit Chapter 1 go right ahead. But see what suits you, not what suits other people. This is why I’m being a bit vague in this post and not specific, because I don’t know you, I don’t know your circumstances, your life-situation, your resources, nothing. All I know is you could have an idea that can change the world and you owe to no one but yourself first to write that idea down, be it a point, a quote, a poem, a short story or a novel and, after you’re done with it, share that idea with the world. All it takes is one person to change the world and that person can do it with words.

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Important Last Point

Sometimes, the ‘spark’ comes to you.

Other times you’re given that ‘spark’ even if you don’t want it.

Then there are moments when you accidentally possess a ‘spark’ and you’re so happy you use it properly.

But there are those magical times when you decide to stop waiting for the above three instances, brace yourself and head out in search of that ‘spark’, that one idea that makes you who you are. Remember that sometimes, to head out in search of something means to go inside yourself and find what is already there.

Image Credit: RowdyKittens, matryosha, Charles Jeffrey Danoff, Melody Campbell.


  1. cool, nice article.
    + a cup of tea usually helps me to frame my sentences, :)

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