How to Begin
To begin writing, align yourself with your senses and sensations. Feel everything, smell everything, strain to hear, look AT everything (not over it). Put yourself IN the picture and be present, be aware, be vital. This accentuated state is a good state to be writing in.
Write often: every day. Write for 2 hour blocks. Set aside time to write as well as a place to write.
Removing the Obstacles to Writing:
Writing requires research so that regardless of genre, your writing sounds true and believable.
I also found this remarkable blog entry (Via NED11, go figure!)
There are nine steps to carrying out in-depth and relevant research:
1. Think about your research. Try dividing your writing topic into two or three major themes or areas and draft out a few questions that you need to answer about each of those areas.
2. Start the research. Remember to keep your topic small and your research focussed. If you really don’t have any idea what you want to write about, there are any number of starting points that you could use for research that might provide some inspiration – perhaps you could relate it to your own interests; or a previous piece of your own work; or a conversation or overheard remark; or to a quote that catches your attention.
3. Consider the various research methods and choose the most appropriate. You might want to think about conducting interviews, making your own observations, devising a questionnaire, or maybe even facilitating your own focus group. Restrictions of time and budget should also be considered realistically.
4. Read around the topic. Look at previous data researched in the same area – why not make use of the hard work of others? As Isaac Newton said: you can see further ‘by standing upon the shoulders of giants’. Reading doesn’t have to be restricted to academic sources either. Every time you open a newspaper or magazine you are potentially researching. Begin keeping a clippings file of interesting and relevant information gained in this way.
5. Plan your research and devise a timeline to keep you on track.
6. Collect the data. Don’t forget, the Internet is invaluable as a data source. Files can often be downloaded and stored on disk, adding to your resource collection. Many research organisations, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (www.abs.gov.au), have on-line web sites that can be very useful.
7. Analyse the data.
8. Write up your conclusions – note form is fine.
9. Finish off – what information have you discovered that is relevant to your project?