Getting Started with Spilling Ink

Getting started on a piece of writing can be tough. As I mentioned before, Po-jacks can help. Anne Mazer, co-author of Spilling Ink, might know something about Po-jacks. During her early days as a writer, she’d meet with a writer friend and practice writing. Mazer recalls, “Using a line of poetry, or a random sentence as a jumping off point, we wrote as fast as we could” (Spilling Ink, p.35).

She goes on to say she never thought much about this process, but eventually she used it to write a poem that inspired her to write The Oxboy.

I do what I call false starts. I think I got the term from one of Andrea Lunsford's books when I taught at Norfolk State, but I had been doing it since high school but didn’t have a name for it. With false starts, I simply start writing the piece as if it is the draft, stopping periodically to reread, throw out, and redirect. I also use this blog as a form of writing practice (and as a huge learning log where I record discoveries about reading and writing).

What about you? How do you get started on a piece?