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February 1, 2016 / catherinebwrites



Sometimes the combination of a head full of ideas and a blank screen can bring on a kind of paralysis.    So…

Choose a clear font in 12 pt.   Double space.   Leave generous margins.   This will make your first draft easier to read and easier to insert notes. Next…

  • Close your eyes.    Take a couple of deep breaths relax .
  • Take a few minutes to let your mind wander around your ideas.
  • Create a Mind Map. Put the title  in the centre and let the ideas branch out.


Here’s an example


Here’s another  example and this one uses drawings as well.





Making a Mind Map will help you to see where best to start.

The first paragraph

The first paragraph is daunting.   We all know it’s important.   It’s the hook that reels in the reader. But here’s the truth.   Writing seldom turns out the way you expect.   What seems like the perfect opening at this stage may not be right by the time you have finished.   Like the best titles, the best openings often come to you much later on.    Just start.

  • Go with the first thought or idea that comes.  It is ALWAYS right.   It may not end up in the final draft BUT it will lead you the right way.
  • Keep writing until you come to the end. Do not edit.   Do not correct.
  • Don’t worry about grammar, syntax or spelling.
  • Use clichés. They encapsulates truths so use them as shorthand.
  • Use jargon if it helps express an idea
  • Ride personal hobby-horses, sermonise and harangue- it will help you discover what you really think.
  • Write all the pernickety detail you like.
  • Can’t make the transition from one section to the next?  Leave it – jump to the next bit.
  • A mad idea pops into your head. Go with  it.  The maddest stuff often turns into the best bits.
  • Insert notes in a different script as you write.  E.Gneeds X here / research this/put this in earlier/ expand this etc.


  1. The first draft is FOR YOUR EYES ONLY… 
  2. It’s just stage one of clarifying your ideas 
  3. You can correct and improve the writing in later drafts.
  4. It is easier to find vivid images and fresh phrasing when you know where you’re heading.

And when you run into a wall….stop.    Get away from your desk and do something physical.   Wash the windows. Walk the dog.  Hoover the house.  Cook.   Dust.  Go to the gym.   Forget about writing, enjoy what you’re doing.   By the time you get back  you’ll find that something has stirred.

More next time….



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