Keeping active through writing – tips to get started!

Lots of us wonder if we have a piece of creative writing inside us, so what is stopping us from writing?

Writing has the potential to be a great lockdown activity, whether it’s reaching for pen and paper or through use of technology set up to assist, but many are prevented from starting by a feeling of not knowing where to begin. There is something daunting about a blank page and something overwhelming about the thought of starting a long project.

Here are some tips to overcome these fears and get started!

Use writing prompts

These are easy to find online as they have become increasingly popular. They may be a list of things to write about such as ‘A time you were surprised’ or the first line of a story such as ‘It was a dark and stormy night when I found the dog under a tree…..’. They eliminate the blank page and give you a place to start. If you find a daily one, remember you don’t have to use it daily, or in order, you can simply use it as and when you feel like writing.

Keep it handy

Leave your equipment someone you go often.  Personally I find the less time it takes to sit down a write something the more likely I am to do it! Popping your journal or laptop in a place you will see it may prompt you to keep going. The only exception to this is if it reminds you of work, because keeping work related items out of sight during non-work time can help you to switch off from work stresses.

Keep it short

This applies to the time you spend writing and the overall length of the writing.  Start by aiming to write for short periods. For example; I started my first story by sitting to write each day while my dinner was in the oven, which was about 20 – 30 minutes.

Beginning with short blog posts, short stories or poems is a great way to get into the habit of writing without too much pressure.  You can always expand on a short piece in the future if you feel there is more to say.

It doesn’t have to be a story

You can write about absolutely anything, it doesn’t have to be a fictional story, here are some other ideas:

  • Reviews of items or programmes
  • Blogging about something you are interested in or your experiences
  • Poems (there are lots of different types to try)
  • Songs
  • Jokes
  • Recipes
  • Advice or Instruction articles
  • Journals and Bullet journals
  • Letters
  • Lists of ideas or plans
  • Articles for websites or newsletters
  • Creating word puzzles

Write for yourself

Writing doesn’t have to be shared, it doesn’t have to be published, it’s okay to write only for yourself. Writing for fun can help you to enjoy the process rather than being under the pressure of an end result or future goal. Writing for yourself gives you the freedom to try out new ideas and techniques.

But if you fancy a challenge!

If you do enjoy a sense of challenge and competition there are many short story and poetry competitions you can enter. A quick online search will bring up hundreds, check for entry guidelines as some are for certain ages, locations or may be out of date.

Some useful links for beginning…

Gina Warren

Mum, carer and Occupational Therapist.

Email: gwarren1@nhs.net