Over the past year of teaching writing, I have been asked a new question from various students: How do I start? Before this, I had never heard that question nor asked it of myself. Is there something in the air that is keeping people from starting? Is it the social climate? The political uncertainties? A device-bred self-censoring?
Whatever it is that is causing would-be writers to have trouble starting, as a teacher, I need to figure out how to answer that question.
Starting can be the hardest part, but it can also be the most exciting. How do you start? With one word. Then another. Then another. Prompts help the truly stuck, but for most people, I think all they need is permission to put their thoughts on paper. Your thoughts are valuable, unique, and important. No one else has your thoughts and no one knows what they are until you let them out.
So, if you need permission, here it is: Begin. Write the first word that comes to you, the word that snakes its way through your grey matter, through your subconscious, through your conscious thoughts, through your arm, down your fingers, and onto the paper or keyboard.
Now do the next word.