Writing Hacks, Part 1: Starting

By Scott Berkun, Aug. 28 2006 (#54)

Writing is easy, it’s quality that’s hard. Any idiot who knows 5 words can write a sentence. It might be sloppy, confusing, or inaccurate but it is still writing. This means when people struggle to start writing they’re likely imagining the polished precision of the finished work. This is the trap. Thinking about the end at the beginning makes the clumsy junkyard that all beginnings must be difficult to accept.

While it’s true that good voice, tone, rhythm, ideas and grammar are essential to good writing, they’re never introduced all at once. I promise you that the first draft of Strunk and White didn’t follow Strunk and White. The secret, if you can’t start, is to begin without constraints. Deliberately write, badly if you have to, but write.

For this reason writer’s block is a sham. Anyone who wrote yesterday can write today, it’s just a question of if they can do it to their own satisfaction. It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s fear of not writing well; something quite different. Certainly every writer has moments of doubt, but the way out is to properly frame what’s going on, and writer’s block, as commonly misunderstood, is a red herring.

Consider this: Have you ever been blocked while playing Frisbee? Eating doughnuts? Dancing naked in your living room? Those are joyful things and there’s nothing at stake: if you fail, who cares? Nobody. If there are no rules, and no judgment, psychological blocks are impossible. And remember writers like making up names and overthinking things: there is no term for architect-block, painter-block, juggler-block or composer-block. Every creative pursuit faces similar pressures, but they don’t obsess about it the way writers seem to do.

So play. Loosen up. Smile. Break the framework that’s making it impossible to start. Forget the deadline and the assignment and just be an open mind with a pen. Remember that until you say you’re finished, you can break all the rules. If you can’t get started, your psychology is making the challenge bigger than you can handle. Thinking of the book, the chapter, the page, the paragraph, is all too big if while you’re thinking, the page remains blank. Like a weightlifter out of his class, a writer with a blank page needs to lighten the load.

Writing hacks for starting

In the grand tradition of lists and books of hacks, writing hacks are clever little actions that give you leverage and put the dynamics in your favor. Here in part 1 it’s all about how to start.

Start with a word. The first goal is to get one word on the page. It can be any word, but you have to choose it, and put it down. I’m partial to the ridiculous[1], so for me it’s often Papaya, Pomegranate or Throat-warbler-man-grove (If you’re thinking that’s not a word, go back two paragraphs). If one word was easy, go for two. Still feeling lucky? Go for a small sentence. It doesn’t matter what the words are, but get them down. Write the lyrics to the song on the radio, the names of people you’ve slept with, your favorite Dr. Seuss lines, it just doesn’t matter. Once all the magic muscles in your little fingers get going, you’ll soon find yourself, in between rounds of one fish blue fish, writing some intelligent things. If your energy fades, repeat. Return to the unit of writing anyone can do, and build up again.

Write about how it feels not to be able to write. It’s sneaky, but damn, this works every time. The voice in our heads is always saying something, so put it down. Writer-weenies call this free writing, implying something unfortunate about other kinds of writing, but I find it easier to think of as listening. Imagine yourself as a recording device, writing down the radio broadcast of some other person who happens to live in your head. If you think this is weird, write about why it’s weird (See: you can’t lose – there’s always a way). Eventually your mind will hit thoughts on the topic itself and, presto, you’re on your way.

Have a conversation. Since you can’t get “converse with a friend” block, call up your buddy and talk. Get their opinions on whatever you’re writing, or throw them a bit of yours. Take notes about the conversation. Guess what? You’ve started writing. Friends are too busy? Go to a café or bar. I’ve found that if you tell bartenders you’re a writer, after they stop laughing, they’ll happily chat and occasionally give you free drinks. In a pinch, or if you’re a loner, talk with your dog. No dog? Create an imaginary friend (or three). Perhaps I’m insane, but I talk to myself all the time, and sometimes I even like the answers. If you know a writer friend, be writer buddies, available by phone to help each other get started.

Read something you hate. Opinions come easy to me, but some days I’m as indifferent as the wind. To get started I’ll read things that I can’t stand, express opinions in violent opposition to mine[2] and, when pressed, are written so poorly my eyes burn straight through the pages. A paragraph of outstanding tripe is intellectual smelling salts. It puts me on my feet, sticking and jabbing like Muhammad Ali, raving and ranting on the page. I can rarely use those first rant-laden riffs, but it puts me in the ring. Sometimes its love you need, so go to your masters: Emerson, Fitzgerald, Orwell, King, get your nose into whoever’s writing get you jazzed. Writers often write about writing[3], a trick few arts can follow; so reflective motivation from writers is easy to find.

Warm up. Do you imagine Olympic sprinters wake up and immediately sprint around the house? Of course not (unless they drank too much the night before). No one performs well without easing muscles and emotions into place. And everyone warms up differently. Sometimes responding to e-mail works because hey, that’s a kind of writing. Or type the alphabet forwards and backwards. Maybe revise something old and unfinished to get warm. My ritual is to type in quotes from good books I’ve read to get the fingers in rhythm and my mind thinking good writer thoughts. More exercises here and here.

Make lists. Nonfiction often starts for me as bulleted lists. I imagine what things the finished work would answer, how it would do it and I write it down. Not that I know how to fill them, but what might good section headings be? List making is never as threatening as “writing”, so go there first (There is no shopping list block, is there?). I kick the list around for awhile, changing, moving, shuffling, and then once it has critical mass, I put in a document and go. And I’m always ready to leave the list, and my plan behind, if I find a sweet spot: the list is a tool, not a contract. I have dozens of essay ideas in various states of list form, in a Moleskine, slowly growing until they’re ready.

Switch to something harder. My wife is an artist, and for years she’s worked on two paintings at the same time, switching between them. Why? When she’s hit a wall on one project, the second project is a godsend: it’s an escape that’s still productive. I use this hack as follows: when stuck on project A, including not being able to start, I’ll joyfully switch to project B, thinking I’m pulling one over (on myself of course, but even the idiocy of self-delusion is tolerable to the acid misery of returning to A). But 20 minutes later when I hit a wall on Project B, a wall that, by comparison, seems like the Maginot line, I’m more than happy to return to A, even if it’s a blank page. I’ve forgotten A’s particular horrors, and jump in, possibly over the hurdle that seemed impossible before.

Run like hell. I can’t write if my body isn’t happy and my body feels happy when it has been used: it likes to run or lift or almost anything. So think physical: let your body get out the stresses that block your mind. Go for a run, mow the lawn, chase your cat, do something to get your body moving, and your mind relaxed. If you move your body, your mind will follow. Maybe take a bath, get a massage, have sex, anything physical and positive. If you get into the activity enough I bet you’ll have a moment when your body is finally happy enough to let your mind do its work.

Whiskey. Yes, alcohol is writing’s seductive little mistress. A well timed shot of whiskey can work wonders for the jittery, neurotic mind. It’s the shock to the system that works for me, so when I can’t start, there are alcohol free alternatives to get things flowing: a cold shower, an underwear clad run up the driveway, a shot of espresso, a peek at my naked wife, the list goes on. Don’t depend on these (as the more you use, the less they work, except for the last one), but occasionally they’re the only way.

Rummage your scrap pile. In 1994 I started writing a novel[4]. By this I mean I created a word document named “My Novel”, hit save and then got drunk with friends. The next day, terrified as I was to return, I created a second document, called “My Novel – notes”. And in there I wrote down every idea that came to me about what might be in the novel. Only had one at first (“The narrator gets drunk. And then…well…hmmm”) but more came the next day. It was a hard core rule: If I had any idea at any time, I wrote it down immediately. No exceptions (Thus, the moleskine). I’d think of snippets of dialog, lines of narrative, names for characters, or bits of plot, and stick them in, rarely looking at the previous bits. Eventually I had enough material to psyche myself up for the dive back into “My novel” as it wasn’t a blank page anymore.

Smart writers have stockpiles of old ideas to arm themselves against the evils of the blank page. When stuck, rummage. Laugh at the goofy ideas. Groan at the pretentious ones (there will be many). Feel the occasional awe of not remembering writing something that shines or happens to fits your blank page. Like a flea market or garage sale, let ideas feel cheap, light and easy to throw around. If you can do that, new work will get off the ground almost on its own.

[1] I sometimes write “I have nothing to say” and repeat it on the page. I’ll go and go until I get so pissed off that I decide it’s less painful to write something real than it is to watch myself type this idiotic phrase forever. We always have something to say: we’re just not always brave enough to say it. A little self torture can sometimes bring it out.

[2] True story. This essay started when someone sent me a link to this essay on When you can’t get started, which you might like, but I had trouble with. Halfway through I had so many ideas I jumped into a blank page and didn’t stop until I had a draft of much of this essay. Mind you, as a writer I know this subject well, and had done plenty of thinking on this topic beforehand.

[3] By the act of writing “writers often write about writing” I’m writing about writers often writing about writing, which means you’re reading about writing about writers writing about writing. Say that ten times fast and I’ll give you a cookie.

[4] I wrote the novel on and off for 10 years, and finished in 2005 (with draft #5). Currently unpublished.

Further advice: 

I thought for sure there would be many essays titled “writing hacks” but I only found one when I wrote this. Most links are to things about writing code hacks.


312 Responses to “Writing Hacks, Part 1: Starting”

  1. Annie

    I laughed when I read the ‘have a conversation tip’. Not because I thought it was stupid, but because today I had a conversation with my bit of paper.

  2. K.A. Pitts

    “Deliberately write badly, but write.”

    Some of the best essays I have written started from the most horrid gobbily-guk jumbled messes I call notes…

  3. SAmmara

    I thought this site was very helpful

  4. Quitting Weed

    Hi there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  5. Maila

    This is truly the best article i have read on writer’s block. I have been going through this for some weeks now, and all that you wrote makes perfect sense. Thanks to you, I have finally thrown away all fear and I am once again experiencing the joy of writing. I am definitely subscribing to your blog! Hope to read more masterpieces from you :D

  6. roni

    thank you very very much. I’ve just started, in hebrew. alsow found that public places, like caffee’s, somehow help and let me ingage in amaginary arguments with…whuever.

  7. Terri

    Ok now I’m ready to finish my book. Thank you so much for the post. Oh, and when or if it gets published, I’ll send you a copy.

  8. Paul Phillips

    i injoyed your comment about creative writing, but my problem relate to the setting out of the book, i have so many ideals and creative themes to add that beening a novice writer renders me unsure as to how to structure the thoughts into a cohesive format for incorporation into the book. What i want is basic book structuring and simple ideas as to keep lesser characters, ie background personel, ie known barman ect. their personality and actions from consuming the main characters and plot.

  9. Bill Epps

    Hello There Scott!

    I truly enjoy your approach to handling the craft of writing, especially on the matter of getting started! I found your suggestions witty, funny, and most of all, stimulating! Thanks alot! I believe there’s “a book within me” dying to get out!
    Again, thanks for your strong (and funny) motivation!

    Bill Epps

  10. michelle

    My biggest drawback is grammer; so stuck on incorrect punctuation. I tried borrowing books from the library to no avail. Should I just write like a junky and worry about the marks later? Ughhh frustrating, I am such a perfectionist. Also, I think too much and write a topic with one paragraph, save it, start another subject to write…so unfocused. Help!

  11. Tonya

    You owe me a cookie. Grin.
    I’ve had a story in my head for months. I luckily stumbled upon your site and appreciate your thoughts on writing.
    Best regards. TM

  12. Getting there

    Thank you Thank you Thank you

  13. Cyndi

    This article was great!!! Thank you!!!!

  14. Gral

    A withdrawal from an adictive substance gives a powerful boost of energy to write.

    Jean Cocteau, for instance, wrote his most celebrated book, Les enfants terribles, when he was cold turkey from opium.

    Drink a few bottles of wine, enjoy yourself etc and wait 2-3 after. You will have an increased sensibility.

  15. Sean

    I would love to thank you so much :D I had no clue where to start with my writing but now I have quite a few different ideas!

  16. Val

    Uplifting, made me laugh….seriously contemplating a book dealing with my current situation, involving much seriousness. It is inner pain I need to let go and release, as well as allow the world to meet a very wonderful person. Thanks for this kick in the arse!

  17. Amy

    I absolutely loved this!!!! This just jazzed me up in so many ways! I actually grabbed a note book and as I was reading this just started writing down all kinds of ideas! LOVE the project “A” and project “B” thing! Oh, and your sarcasm is just so needed here! I am rushing to get ready for work but have bookmarked this page! I believe finding this may have been a godsend! HAVE AN AWESOME DAY! ……..Amy

  18. Sereda

    I enjoy your writing style. Thank you for sharing..I feel lighter now that i have laughed a bit about the process of writing:-)

  19. blerina

    this is so helpful thank you

  20. Melissa Boyse

    Thanks so much, finally some help with all that i am thinking about in one site.com

  21. Chelsea Rae

    This whole website is fantastic! I’m 21 and I have NO idea how to start writing a book, although I’ve been blogging for about a year. This has been inspirational and helpful! Whenever you decide to get your book published I would love to read it, you’re pretty hysterical. =)

  22. lynnie

    Hi there.

    Funny great hands on stuff you can sink your teeth into.
    Tools essential for uplift and yes failure.

    Got me thinking. I like that. This is where I believe the best kept secrets are.


  23. Jeff anderson

    Dear scott,i have been studying,listening how and what people say,I iam a christian and I have been studying & meditating on how powerful&meaningful words are,death &life are on the power of the tongue,the title of my book is ..Watch your Mouth for you wiil have what yoi say.words can create or destroy.This book has bern on my heart &mind for about a year ,I think this book will change the direction of peoples ddestinations.

  24. Seiichi Yono

    Thank you for the much needed insight to the writing world. Truth be told i stubleled apon your input while looking for advice that would help me write the story to my first video game. I completely agree with You that sex and a shot get the thinking juices flowing when you’re stressed.

    Motivation to pick back up where I left off has always been my biggest stress (amongst these economic times), but you have given me some insight to my own stupification and a way to combat it.


  25. marie soul

    I have been writing a book for years,and have not put a word on paper yet,I seem to find it easy to talk to fruit at the grocery store or tell a story or two to a total stranger but can’t seem to put it on paper,oddly enough I am writing you. Thank you for the article I do find it helpful.

  26. Chastity Bolar

    Wow! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  27. santono

    You owe me a cookie. (=

  28. Danie

    I really enjoyed your article and I will use your advice, I do have a great idea for a book and now that you have spanked the fire the five years of mental work will be set to test. I CAN do this I already did in my head.

  29. Hannahhoo

    I really want to write a book but whenever I write down something I feel silly and stop at 3 lines. I have so many ideas but I can’t write even a decent story 3 pages long. It depresses me. =(

  30. Arianne

    Thanks for this! I really needed it, I wanted to start writing a novel, because I want to illustrate it too.I found this hilarious and helpful.Thank again!

  31. Glenda

    I though this site was very helpfully I really like it thank you

  32. Minahil

    It’s always been a dream of mine to be a writer. And my English teacher agrees that I should some day! Last year out of nowhere I got an idea about making a book based around five children who have power over the elements(fire,water etc.) since then I have thought about it a lot. And have even managed to write a decent enough plan and around 20 A4 pages of draft!!! I admit that it turned out better than I expected and once I got started I couldn’t stop!!! Though the truth is that I’m barely 13 !!! :-( which means that I’m not gonna get published or anything anytime soon!!! I’ve gone on hundreds of websites trying to see if any give info on how to write a teenagers book if your a teenager yourself. But I couldn’t, so I was hoping u could give me some advice!

  33. Rajus

    This is like one of the very few comment I have ever bothered to post on any website thats not facebook. But I felt like inserting my coin in that machine right now. So I all I wanted to say is that what you did right here is helpfull at it’s fullest. Thanks you.

    Best regards

  34. Tyrone

    I’ll be honest, the thought of being a writer never popped in my head…even as a childhood dream.

    I’m a reserved person by nature and I’ve never really grasped the idea of “talking about your problems”, so instead I decided to start writing. Whether my novel, book whatever the fuck you call it does well or not you’ll always be my inspiration.

    When I read what you said about the secrets of being an author I realized you knew what you’re talking about. Keep well and keep writing!

  35. Gary Stockwell

    Good reading. it has helped a lot.

  36. Richard Wade

    Scott, I think I’ve lived a crazy life. I’ll just give you a few insights, I lived in Miami,Fl. all my grade buddies help me do this we smuggled weed from Columbia to the Bahamas, then to speed boat and on to Miami I got caught once dramatic chase at sea as the news papers print it (I still have all)they shot at us 36 times. We were found not guity by a jury, but later brought up on federal charges and got 4 years at Eglin AFB, And there is so much that went on there you would not believe it all this took place 1981 to1985 let me know if you would be interested Richard Wade

  37. Cibele

    Hello! I just want to thank you! I do want to write a book. I know the theme, I know why and I’m willing to work hard. But I sit down in my chair, look to my blank page in my computer and … no ideas.. everything seems weak, unnecessary, stupid. So, I loved the tips you gave and will come back to read more. I’m not a native english spoken person, so I might write in my own language, portuguese. This is just in the case you sense my way of writing weird…:-). Thanks again. I found you in the internet, but felt prompt to know more about you and your books. Congratulations!

  38. Ed Freitas

    Hi there Mr Berkun. I just wanted to say thank you for all your advice. You are an inspiration for sure!
    I shall put my head down and get my skinny fingers ready to work…Let’s see what happens!
    Thank you again and oh, you owe me a cookie! :)

  39. Austin Becht

    Hey Mr. Berkun, your a great help. I have been debating for a while weather I would try to write a book or not. I have always had several Ideas, from Alien Invasions to just plane old “a day in the life of” books. After reading this I have decided to write a book based off of one of my ideas. I just hope for my sake I can start thinking of names for my characters, as that is about the only part I have problems on when making up ideas. Do you happen to have any pointers on making up character names? If so I would love to hear them!

    1. Marisela

      I have that problem sometimes,now I just name him based on his personality or think of a name I would of enjoyed having. Once I start names just pop up like spam mail, thats what helps me hope I helped.

    2. Myrtle

      What I did a while ago was I wrote down all the names I would want to give my kids, then gave them a random middle name as well. Now I’m actually writing a story, I’m so glad I did since I just go to the list and pick the name that best matches the character. If one doesn’t happen to match, just make up another one! Works like a charm every time :D

    3. Sasha

      Naming characters for me is for some reason very easy. Usually I’ll take something really vague that has something to do with them – for example, some guy who has bad qualities and is hidden from society. Let’s take the word “Under”. Now make an anagram out of “Under” – you have many possibilities – for example, Derun, Rednu, Rendu, Runde, Denur, Nedru, Nudre, and so on.

  40. Ali iMAM

    Dear Sir,
    Incredable, I love the guidence. I am a tourism professional and at the end of my carrier, age 65, I have now a pile of experience, which I wanted to leave for the comming generation in shape of tourism books. I tried, but it seemed
    diffcult job, as to whom i discussed the ideas, they made more diffcult for me, instead of helping. I got a lead,through
    your this artical, and since now, as you advised, my ideas, needs me to protect them, and no body else can give me better advise, than my ownself.
    I will start with new zeal and sprit.
    Highest regards to ever body.

  41. Ishita

    I am not exactly amazing at grammar and vocabulary ,it’s really hard for me to think the best word which will describe the sentence which I am about to write ,is it really necessary to be awesome at English for writing a book ,could your idea be more important ?

  42. joe

    Just what I needed a good swift kick in the ass. I have written several how to guides,NO Success. Marketing is a must, but passion – real passion to write something is the key. write is because its got to get out of you, the rest will come. I have a 5 year opportunity to rite like hell.
    thank you

  43. Angalic Collins

    I am only 15 but, I’ve been writing since I got my first book without words inside of it. So, since kindergarten I have been trying to become a better writer. I’m glad that you posted this because I’ve been needing to get back to my pencil. Thanks for all the tips. Anyway, I was wondering if you could help with a certain problem of mine. I feel as though when I write I’m not being original. Even if an idea pops into my head randomly! Any tips there?

    1. Random web web browser.

      I too am trying to write. My dad wrote my Mom writes, and reading books since I could read has inspired me to do it.

      Your question reminds me of something my friend sometimes tells me when I tell him about my latest drawing or painting. I’ll say “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if someone painted a realistic version of a pikachu?” He’ll respond, “that’s already been done.” Up pops an image of what looks like a realistic pikachu on his phone, but it is nothing like how I myself would portray it.

      So in short, nothing in this entire universe we’re all in is truly new. When you think about just about everything, at its core, has already been done or thought of in some form. Nothing is new under the sun.

      However, I think it is more about the execution rather than the idea, because there are tons of similar ideas, but different portrayal or aka execution makes all the difference.
      For instance, twilight at it’s core, is really a tale of forbidden love like Romeo and Juliet and just about any other romance novel in the world.

  44. Susan Wehner

    Love the making a list idea. I didn’t even finish reading the paragragh before I was writing my list. It really helps with just getting the ideas down for the story. I kept getting hung up on the first page. Going back over what I’d already written making corrections etc. Writing this happens, then this, then this and then going back to fill it in… what a concept!

  45. Rachel

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this; love your perpsective and attitude, great, inspiring, thanks!

  46. The Hallway

    The article was great, accept for the misspelling of the late great Muhammad Ali’s name.

    1. silver

      Your comment was great, except for the misuse of “accept” and the fact that Muhammad Ali is still alive, as of this posting.


      1. Come-to-me-for-my-own-quotes

        No offence, but maybe the hallway accepted the misspelling?

        And if you want to reply to my comment with something that you think might puncture my somewhat “sideways” sense of humour, you don’t have to use that whole entire clause out there at the toppathepost.

        Thank you.

    2. the mole

      to the hallway: you spelled except wrong.

  47. someone

    I`m a seventeen year old girl and i wanted to wright books from an early age on.
    Now finally I kinda started on `something`.
    A problem I have is that when I read what I wrote it`s a bit
    Patrick Süskindlish (hes one of my favorite authors).
    So I would love to read an article of you where you write how to find your own style, but maybe it`s just an symptom of the 21st century where everything is a copy .. of a copy.

    Ps. If that what I just wrote seems a little bit weird it might be because english isn`t my native language.

    1. PEDRO

      I don’t see how such can be a problem. It is perfectly normal for writers-in-the-making to have strong similarities to their favourite writers. You’re young, meaning you are still learning, and if you want to be a writer, at this stage, it will be very common for you to write in what may look like another writer’s style. Who’s to say that isn’t your style aswell? Good luck

  48. sierra

    Hello who ever is reading this im sorry to disturbe you but I am actully the age of 12 and I love to read and write.I dont care about fame and fortune but I really want to be an author its just what I love to do I love to make up fantasy storys and wright down the ideas.I actully have an idea for a series of a fantasy book and an idea for another book.I dont really see a point in telling you all this and I apoligize for that but I just felt like something I should do.I just really wanted to say that I have a strong pashin for writing and I dont mind working alot to get to my gaol.Because I just know i will make it to being an author.=)thank you for reading this and i dont know what you could say back but my emal is cierrarf@yahoo.com and if you could messege me back I would love that and greatly aprishiat that.=)Thank You.

  49. Tyron Marshall

    Thanks, wanted to write for years for no other reason but to do it. You have given me ‘Permission’. Much appreciated.

    Great site

  50. Uitvaart

    I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I am quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  51. Austin Becht

    Hey Scott, I just wanted to say thanks for putting up this article. It has helped me so much with the start of my writing. I currently have started writing one of my books, and have three others I am putting down ideas for. Oddly enough, the three I am just making ideas for are all fantasy books, and the one I am writing id a science fiction/distopia book. One of the fantasy books though, is also a distopia. I also have another idea in my head for a book about every day life, abet being comedic. Now that is a radical change for my other ideas. Just now that no matter whether I finish these books or not, or whether I am successful or not, you are one of the people who inspired me to begin my writing. (others are my friends and my English teachers)

  52. Marianne

    G’day Scott. I’ve been writing bits and pieces for years. I have a heap of ideas in my head and on scraps of paper everywhere. Of course, the most ‘profound ideas’ come when I’m either drunk or have no access to a writing implement :) You can guess where those ideas end up! Anyway, I just thought I’d let you know that your writing is interesting, with great ideas for people to follow. I haven’t a clue whether anything I write will ever be finished, let alone published, but it’s fun trying to get those words on paper…….Most of the time :)

  53. Brianna

    I have been writing since I was in Kindergarten, and was moved my sophomore year of high school to write a book on girls purity. Going into junior year I decided to actually finish this thing but couldn’t get past the introduction part. I was so used to writing the way my teachers had educated me, but reading this entry totally made me feel at peace with writing the way I want to write my book! Thanks for the laughs and the awesome advice.

  54. shiddesh

    thx for the article really loved it and quite funny too.. makes me think that a lot of things i do while writing but never knew it were helping my brain to ease off..

  55. Kelly Irwin

    You so got me started…My mind is ahead of my skills!!Your site, a blessing of information !!!

  56. Matt

    That was a fun piece of writing.
    I think I can stop using time reading, and spend more time writing.
    I laughed a lot. I’m relaxed enough to start Chapter One…

  57. Leanne

    Scott Berkun,
    I am 20 years old; and have never finished reading/ writing a book in my life! Untill I recently finished reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
    Although I enjoyed reading your article, it still hasn’t pushed me that little bit further i had hoped it would do.
    I’ve been wanting to write a book on my mother’s life And a few other books on my life and other personal things, but I just don’t know what’s holding me back.
    I guess I feel a little afraid, like I don’t want to mess up, or spea about things that I have pushed to the back of my mind for years.
    Could you give me some advice on what I should do/ how I should manage this please?
    Thank you

  58. Sasha

    This essay was immensely helpful, thanks for writing!

    When I get stuck, I just start skipping around and humming simultaneously, and I write down the way the faces of the surrounding people look. :) And then I write down something about my lack of sanity, etc. Very helpful.

    1. Come-to-me-for-my-own-quotes

      Hey, I do that too! Except I write about others’ insanity. I’m trying to find out whether I’m a satirist or a purely philosophical person–or both.

      And I’d love it if someone posted something on this community at Google+ called Be Infinite, it’s Public, ‘cos it’s kindawellrunninouttamaterial.

      Thank you.

  59. sarah

    I’ve been having the worst, most difficult time starting my college essays. It’s all SOOOOO extremely overwhelming!
    Your advice is GREAT though.


  60. elvira

    Excellent work.
    A very important information and the simplicity of the writing style invites to read the whole article.

  61. psychobabe

    Thanks for the helpful tips!

  62. Sayed Farhad

    When we talk about creativity, sometimes the craziest ideas are the best ones! Very interesting essay. funny and helpful!



  1. […] Writing is easy, it’s quality that’s hard. Any idiot who knows 5 words can write a sentence (e.g. “Dufus big much Scott is”). It might be grammarless, broken, or inaccurate but it is writing. #54 – Writing Hacks, Part 1: Starting « Scott Berkun […]

  2. […] First,cheap christian louboutin UPDATE,abercrombie pas cher,louis vuitton louis vuitton Suicide attacks are, the EU sanctions,jordan pas cher, until now, have produced a positive result in raising European unity toward Iran’s failure to adhere to six UN Security Council resolutions demanding that it stop work on its illicit uranium enrichment program. […]

  3. […] Their — not commenting much on the details but the couple issuing a statement saying. That they both really did want to what was in the best interest to their child so they sat in a room. The proposal was vetoed by Republican Gov. most recently,airmen it is an all,vuitton pas cher,louis vuitton outlet the takeover of YPF, According to New York those are Barack and boyfriend nick Loeb have — after more than two years as a source tells the — the sexy star in her — close. She also tells us about her career. The continuing divisions within America over Obama care and I think what hasn’t gotten enough coverage. Senate majority leader Harry Reid attempted to put the bill on the floor calendar using a special rule that allows him to bypass normal procedures.The gunfire from a U. Tell us in the comments below.Jolie,sacs louis vuitton,End restrictions o, this exercise also represents the extensive cooperation we enjoy with our international partners — both in and outside the region — with mutual economic and security interest,sac Louis Vuitton,S. And it’s it goes against everything that we stand for as religious women. In — represented — that.airmen it is an all […]

  4. […] From Scott Berkun’s Blog: “Write about how it feels not to be able to write.” Not being able to write feels like, “blah.” I can get excited about dancing and persist even when it’s challenging, and I can do the same with practicing (and even teaching) yoga.  When I was warming up earlier, I became frustrated at my tendency to hold tension in the hip flexors and curve my spine in forward bends. I could go farther into the pose on previous occassions, so what was wrong with me today? Suddenly, I had a flash of insight: would I give a shit if someone else couldn’t touch their toes in a forward bend? No. I’d be more concerned that they were maintaining their body’s integrity within the pose, and if that meant they had to back off a little, so be it. […]

Leave a Reply

* Required