Sometimes...the hardest, most unbelievably difficult, part of any story...is the first five paragraphs! It is grueling, it is maddening, it is downright FRIGHTENING at times! And it's hard to really explain why that is to people who don't write all the time. It's a level of insanity that only writers and other artists will ever really know. Because this is the 'kickoff' when it comes to starting a new project. It's the equivalent of throwing the first punch in a fight. Like..."Ok! This is it! Here we go! I hope I know what I'm doing!" And while writing may seem like a relaxing, expressive, and therapeutic exercise in general...this first step forward can be more intimidating than any other part of the process. This is the leap of faith. This is telling yourself that you're actually going to take a shot at making this idea in your head a reality...and you'd better do it right. Because you can't be an artist without taking your armor off. You've got to be vulnerable. You've got to show people your true self, and HOPE that they approve. The world is watching now. I can't think of anything that could be more terrifying when it comes to writing my own stuff. So I'm right there with you, even after years of practice and experience.
The thing is...the pressure to get things right on the first try can create a feeling of dread in all of us...even if we don't recognize it as such. We begin to procrastinate. We tell ourselves that our ideas aren't ready yet, or that we're still 'fleshing it out', or we just start binge watching Netflix shows so we have an excuse to not commit until later. And while that keeps our mixed up creative minds calm and comfortable for the time being...it can stop our most gifted thoughts and emotions from ever making it on to the page. Or...the screen. Whatever. We need to recognize this subtle self intimidation for what it is so we can conquer it and actually get something done. Otherwise...your personal story is going to stay stuck in limbo for YEARS...if not forever!
So let's push that weirdness aside and get MOTIVATED, shall we?
First things first...sit at your keyboard, and open up that program. Whatever you use to write with...open it up, and let that harsh blank page stare you in the face until you come up with something to say. That's the hardest part. Think of your story as a whole, pick a golden spot to start from, and then word your first few sentences based on that idea.
Easier said than done, I'm sure. But that's the most important part of writing anything. Getting the ball rolling.
I realize that a million thoughts are going through your head at this point, and it's easy to feel like the entire story is weighing heavily on your shoulders, but you just have to dive into it without thinking too much. In our heads, we may be thinking of characters and story elements that are waaaaay down the road from those first few sentences. Twists and turns and romantic encounters and everything that we had planned out from the very beginning. But for right now, you just want to find that special jump off point. Nothing else. The rest will come naturally as the story progresses, so try your best to keep from feeling like you have to write an entire book In one sitting by the stroke of midnight. That only adds to the pressure, and before you know it, you'll be opening up your YouTube account in a separate window and you'll be right back to being lazy and distracted. Hehehe! STOP that!
For me personally, when I want to get a brand new story or even a brand new chapter of a continuing story started...I think about the main character and where I want him to be at that particular point of the story. Who is he? Where is he? How can I put this character in a place where I can provide the reader with some much needed information about him/her/them? I've written stories that start off with my protagonist's relationship with their parents, and some where they seem to just be hanging out with good friends. Sometimes, their life starts out normal and that beautiful stranger shows up later to flip their whole world upside down. Other times, the very first sentence of the story might be, "He was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen." Boom! You're instantly drawn into the moment. You get a chance to describe the love interest, maybe give a brief history of where this beauty came from, and also have the main character show the audience who they are. Starting a story is all about picking the right moment. Different ways of doing this could be starting at the 'end' of your story, and explaining how the main character got there by having the whole story play out as a flashback. Or you could choose a moment that seems mundane at first, but is soon given detail and meaning through the first few paragraphs to follow.
But you want something that will grab your reader's attention right away. Something that will intrigue them and urge them to keep reading to see what happens next. Once you choose that moment, and you make that leap...you can settle in and begin molding your sculpture into something beautiful.
Find a moment that starts your main character off in the middle of his journey. At the top of the roller coaster, just about to take that first exciting dip downward...so that you, as a writer, can get excited about this story too. There will be an urge to start off really slow, thinking that you have to have a basic beginning before you get into anything more interesting. Don't. Get your readers involved right away, and if you have to go back and add some more details to your foundation later, then so be it. But, as I always say, an author's worst enemy is that 'backspace' button on the keyboard. You've only got a small window to impress your readers, especially if they're brand new to your writing. So don't take the 'slow burn' approach. Dive in, and have the dive right in behind you.
Once you begin writing, the momentum will build all on its own. You'll begin to feel your fears and tensions relax, and focus more on the flow and rhythm of what you're writing in that chosen moment. Simply pick your peak...and then ski down to the bottom of the mountain when your muse is all out of juice. Then...take a break. Don't force it. Allow the idea to be 'born' on its own. Your only job is to kick it into gear.
Visualize where you want to go, and force yourself to take those first few awkward steps towards getting there. Don't let the distractions and excuses stop you. Write a few sentences. Then a few paragraphs. Then a few pages. And the more you build upon what you started with, you'll find yourself pounding away at those keyboard keys until you almost don't want to break away to go to sleep for the night. You may not believe me now, but give it a try. I'm willing to bet you'll be surprised what happens.
Passion feeds on its own fumes...so get started. Because the longer you wait, the longer you'll WANT to wait. There will always be a reason not to write. Always. So don't think that you're going to be the first author in history to be 'called to arms' when the feeling hits. No...you've got to make that move on your own. Take the initiative. Deliberately step forward, and like gravity...the story will pull you in the right direction until the feelings in your heart have been expressed. Just push a little bit. Just enough to get started. That's all you need.
The rest will write itself.
I hope this helps you procrastinators get started with your newest projects. If you feel yourself hesitating every time you sit down to write...then take notice of that hesitation. Why won't you write? What are you afraid of? Just GO! Type! Do it! It's a small step, getting started...but it isn't easy. Be aware of that obstacle...then beat it.
Happy writing, folks! And I wish you all the best of luck!