The other day, I got talking to someone else who lives in my building. His name will be left out of this, but we were talking about writing. He told me that he wants to write, but he doesn’t know what to write. He also doesn’t know where to start.
I do get asked this question sometimes. I think most (if not all) writers do.
As for where, I told him that he just has to try and figure out what works for him. Different people start different ways. I start by filling in a very loose outline. Every time I write something in that outline, I end up expanding it and adding more brackets to fill in. But some people start from the beginning and just type it out. Or they talk out their idea with a friend to solidify it first. It’s really up to him to figure out what works for him personally.
However, what to write feels like the bigger question. And it is certainly the one I get asked more often.
But I, personally, feel like that’s the wrong way to look at it.
I think the bigger question is when to write.
And, to clarify, I’m not trying to create some sort of hierarchy. I know it’s not always this simple.
But I do think that, if you don’t actually write, then your book will never get written.
If you start writing today and bang out one hundred words, you have a starting point. It might not be quality work, but let’s say you do that same thing tomorrow. Then for a week of tomorrows. Eventually, after about three weeks (or maybe four if you’re not that consistent), you get to around two thousand words. Maybe you restarted and rewrote bits, or threw your plot out the window. For that matter, maybe you think it’s cr*p. But at least you’re gaining experience and trying to figure out what works for you. The person who’s still just saying that they want to write now lacks your starting point.
Yes, content is important. But so is practice.
I suggested that he set some time aside to write and see what he comes up with.