Start with a seed

writing tip of the day

My tip for today is to start with a seed.

All you need to start that story or poem or novel or essay or whatever you’ve been meaning to write is one tiny seed and from there, your writing will sprout and take on a new life of its own.

If there is a character or a plot or an event you want to write about, take some time and do what they call inkshedding–that is, just free-write about it. Set yourself a time limit, say five minutes, and write every word that pops into your head about that subject, even if it’s nonsense. If you go on a bit of a tangent for a few sentences, just bring your brain back to your topic again and keep writing. Don’t stop for anything, not even punctuation.

When the five minutes is up, read over what you wrote. Is there a seed of an idea that sparkles in what you wrote? Is there a phrase or a word that seems filled with potential? If so, take that seed and start to expand on it, turn it over and look at it from every angle, every plane.

If you didn’t find a seed, inkshed again. You’ll get something. Maybe you are being too hard on yourself. Follow tangents, twists, spirals, hops, drops, let your words take you wherever they want to go. After all, it’s just a few minutes, what harm could it do? I think you will find at least one tiny seed of promise in your words, an idea or phrase or name or characteristic or setting that excites you and that you plant on your paper or in your computer and watch as it grows into something amazing.

Just remember, every great story starts with the germ of an idea.


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