How to go from a blank page to a first draft
It can feel daunting when you have a new subject to write about and no idea where to start. Often, when you don’t know where to start, you can often go off on a tangent and lead yourself away from the original spirit of the content. However, there are some things you can do to make a molehill out of the mountain.
Set up your environment
First and foremost, you need optimum surroundings to create your best content. Stock your desk up with any stationary you may need, get a drink and a snack and ensure that you’re sitting comfortably. Everyone has their ritual for success. Athletes wear ‘lucky’ shoes or have a strange pre-race ritual. If you adopt a similar approach to writing and create a pre-writing ritual that you repeat every time you’re preparing, your mind will begin to build an association between the routine and concentration and creation.
Research your subject
Before you even consider putting pen to paper and writing your content, you need to dedicate a decent chunk of time to researching and understanding your topic. Well written, engaging content is built on solid foundations. You cannot offer your audience valuable information in your content if you don’t know what you are trying to say.
By researching your subject, you are also ensuring that you are providing a comprehensive and inclusive viewpoint. Audiences appreciate having all of the facts and being able to draw their own conclusions.
This may seem like a strange and somewhat useless piece of advice on first glance but bear with us. As simple as it may seem, just put pen to paper and start writing. You can’t edit or add to something that isn’t there, so by stringing a few sentences together, you create a simple foundation from which you can build your work.
Start with some simple sentences to illustrate your key points and you’re sure to see the rest of your content extend from this. This is where the importance of research shows. If you have good background knowledge, you’ll find sketching out the bare bones of your content much easier.
Don’t give up
It can be very frustrating if you hit writer’s block. Trying to smash through the blockade and continue to create can cause a bit of burnout. If you find yourself at a stalemate and unable to continue, take a moment away from the screen. Stand and stretch; perhaps go for a walk. Anything to get your blood pumping and your mind stimulated.
When you return to your desk, have a moment to reacquaint yourself with your writing and your research. By touching base with your source information, you may have a strike of inspiration.
In conclusion, engaging and well-written content is a direct result of thorough research, optimum writing conditions and persistence. A first draft is just that; the beginning. You cannot edit what isn’t there and a good writer will never take the first draft for granted. After all, a beautiful jewel needs to be polished and shaped from a rough rock!