The Blank Page

The beginning is the most important part of the work. -Plato

Is it harder to start a story or to finish it? Both of these can be difficult. Starting because there is so much to write, so many places that the story could go. Finishing a story is just as hard. The characters have to go through so many challenges to learn, and they have to have made some sort of difference for the end to work. However, ending a story will have to wait for another time, here I want to talk about beginning a story.

Often people get stuck on the very first sentence of their story. 

Why does this happen? Starting a story is just writing a sentence. 

We write sentences all the time, but writing the first sentence of a story or almost anything else is much, much more difficult.

The reason for this is often the fact that we are starting something new, and we know that the first sentence of a story needs to pull the reader in and make them want to read the story. This has been hammered into us writers so many times. Get the first sentence right. If the first sentence is not right no one will read it.

And so we don’t want to ruin this story by writing the first sentence only to find that it is not perfect.

There is so much potentially for this story, and we don’t want to spoil it before it is fairly begun.

Before the first sentence is written the story is perfect. Then we write the first sentence and we know that the entire story is not going to be perfect. We know that even if we worked on this story for a hundred years it would still not be the perfect story that we want it to be.

And that is okay!

Because when we are writing, or painting, or doing almost anything creative, we are going to make mistakes. But that is not something that we need to worry about.

The mistakes are what makes our way of writing special. If everything that was written was perfect there would be no difference in the styles of writing, or painting, or practically anything that is creative.

So don’t be afraid to start writing that perfect story only to find that it is not the perfection that you hoped for.

Nothing was made in a single sentence.

Just write a sentence. It does not matter if that sentence is ‘The cat sat on the rat.’ Just write something, and go on writing.

Once the story is written you can come back and change the first sentence, but the most important thing is to write.

So write that story that you have been wanting to write, but have not found the way to start it. The right first sentence can come later.

And if you still find yourself staring at the blank page unable to begin writing the story, you have my permission to borrow the sentence ‘The cat sat on the rat.’

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