Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Wednesday Writing Tips #5: The Challenge of Blank Space!

Welcome to this series of writing tips. If you would like to pen a guest post for this series, email me at

The challenge of filling the blank space on a screen can feel daunting to some new writers.  They want to write but can't quite get going.  They can write, but don't know where to start.  They've a million ideas but what if it all goes wrong?  So they stare at the screen and wait for inspiration to zap some inspiration into their lives.  Meanwhile, the clock's ticking and nothing is getting written.  The more this hurdle is thought about, the bigger it seems to get.

At Riverside Writers, we set a monthly writing project to give people a starting point.  This can take the form of a title, a location, a first line or a set of objects which need to be included in a story or poem.  We have been doing this for several years now and those who participate regularly have found it a very useful tool to help them get writing.

Examples of these projects have included:-
  • What shall we do with the bicycle?
  • The trunk in Grandma's attic.
  • The park bench.
  • Ballet shoes, tangerine, top hat, monkey mask and a Porsche 911.
  • The pool at midnight.
  • A collection of old letters.
  • Holiday disaster.
  • The anniversary.
  • Pipe organ, zombie, wax crayons, cake tin and pyjamas.
If you wish, you could try writing flash fiction stories for each of these, keeping your efforts under 500 words for brevity.  This purpose of this is to prove to yourself that it's possible to pull a story out of pretty much anything if you adopt the right mind-set.

None of the members of Riverside Writers have ever produced identical stories or poems, despite having the same starting point.  Not once, in all the years we've been doing this, has this happened.  The project helps people to think outside of their habitual themes, and the simple fact that they're writing regularly means that over time their work improves.  Also, each participant develops a body of work which they may otherwise not have thought of.

If you'd like to join in with Riverside Writers monthly projects, you can follow their blog here.

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