When it is time to write a story it can feel very intimidating to sit down with a pen and paper or stare a blank screen. Suddenly you feel as though you have absolutely nothing to say – your mind goes completely blank, you can’t remember any thing you’d planned to say, and suddenly you have an overwhelming urge to get up and walk the dog/vacuum the living room/clean the bathroom!
Write a story – the easy way!
Here are some ways to help you gather ideas before you start to write a story, and so the blank screen or page no longer have any power over you!
- First of all you need to know who you are writing the story about. How old are they, what do they look like, what is troubling them, or making them excited? Make a note of your answers, even just bullet points since the story is probably about you, so when you start to write you can set the scene.
- Next you need to decide where you will set the scene as you write the story. Where is the character? What are the surroundings like? Are they safe or in danger? What should the reader know about this environment?
- Lastly, think about the arc of the story. You know where the character is at the beginning, can bullet point the ‘crisis’ point in the middle of story that you character has to cope with, and then how they get to the end. These dots along the way will make it much easier to remind yourself of what you were doing than just launching in and trying to work out how to get to the main point of the story.
These ideas may sound very simple, but even a simple outline will help calm your fears and help you get writing. (Though your dog and home may not thank you!)
To help you get going in smaller chunks, you can also do as I did. start a blog. It is free, and you can choose whether to make your posts public or private as you write. Each day plan to sit down and write for a short time – aim for 15-20 minutes. Set a timer for this time, then sit down and write a story. Don’t read back over what you have written, or in any way edit it. Just write. When the timer goes off, you can decide whether to keep going a little longer, but when you’re done, just save your post and log out. The next day you can edit what you wrote, tidy up grammar and spelling, then save, and move on to the next blog post. When you get up you can go and fact check any details you couldn’t recall, and write them down in readiness for the next day.
In time you will have either a series of chapters for your story or a series of short stories written. You can copy and paste them into a Word or text file, then arrange them in whatever way you wish! By tricking yourself into only thinking about writing a tiny piece of your story, you are much more likely to show up and write each day. In time you will have a lengthy piece of text to use in whichever way you want.
And that is how to write a story of your life in easily managed chunks!