Back to Basics to Break Up Writers Block
There are times when the words just won’t come. The idea is to big or the story too long and it seems impossible to even get started. You try a lead and then another and then another and nothing seems interesting enough. Or worse, you can’t even find a place to start and you’re starting to wonder why you thought you could write in the first place. That’s when you wonder if it wouldn’t be more fun to clean toilets for a living. At least then you would have clear direction.
You need a map. But how do you make a road map when you don’t know where you are going?
Start with the basics — the “w’s” that every budding reporter should learn: who, what, where, when and most importantly why. Lets throw in “how” to round out the list. Answering these questions – in your head or on paper helps you cull through the fluff to find the crucial information. It creates the frame for the story. You don’t generally don’t want to cram all of these things into the lead – that would make it too bulky and probably boring. But, in listing your answers, you will likely find something that stands out, that grabs your attention and would therefore likely grab your readers attention. As your answering the questions, you can also decide which are most important and should get the most play.
At the very least, it gives you a place to start. And that is often the hardest part. Once you have words on the page, you can rewrite, revise and refine. It’s like building a comfy couch – you first need a sturdy frame and then then you can add the stuffing, springs, fabric, fancy trim and pillows (if you like that sort of thing).