How To: Beginnings


The blank page, staring at you, almost mockingly.

The cursor blinking.

Write something.

Write something.

Write something.

We’ve all been there, at the start of a new project or story, with no idea of where the road will lead us. Regardless of whether you’re an architect or a gardener, there will always be a point where you’re staring down the barrel of trying to start something new, and having no idea where to begin. So I’ve created a top three list of tips you can use when you’re stuck with Beginnings.

1 – Remember first drafts are messy

Beginnings are hard work because you have the whole project lying out in front of you. You might have a few snippets, some holes you want to explore, or even the etching of an outline on a post-it note, but wherever you are, at the start there is nothing.

So remember that first drafts are supposed to be messy. They’re supposed to be full of holes, or words that don’t quite work, or scenes that sound great but you haven’t quite stitched them together yet. For me, first drafts are always drafts which have bullet points for scenes I can’t write, or square brackets were [something happens] so that I can get to the next interesting bit in the story.

2 – Start in the middle

Whenever I think back to the times I got taught about creative writing, it was always that you needed a hook for your opening scene. A punchy, in the middle of the action starting point.

Now, your first draft doesn’t need to have that perfect punchy opening line, but this rule does help when you’re stuck on trying to find where to start. Pick that scene that keeps bugging your brain and start with that. Sure, it might not end up as your starting point, but it’s your launchpad for your new project.

3 – Pick your music

Kicking off a new project, for me, also starts with picking a new musical theme for the project. Even if it’s an album I’ve listened to before, having the right music on in the background can help set the environment for your newest project.

Don’t like music? Then make your writing space yours – after all, it’s all about getting in the right headspace to get the first words of your new project on the page!

Alex.J.Cobalt is a fantasy writer from the UK. When she’s not working away at her fantasy novel series, she posts free flash fictions on her website, along with regular blogs about writing.

Featured Photo by Gia Oris on Unsplash

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