One of the most common frustrations about writing is the inability to get started. Whether someone has to write something for work, for school, or for any other purpose, nine times out of ten, their struggle begins with the first words they need to put on the page.

Some people call it writer’s block, although most people who write seriously will tell you that block is an entirely different animal. Fortunately, this complaint is easier to address than real block.

All you have to do is write something. Anything. Doesn’t matter what it is, doesn’t matter how good it is. Doesn’t matter whether it’s the opening sentence or a paragraph somewhere in the middle. Doesn’t matter if it’s perfectly constructed or a glaring fragment. The key is just to put some words on the screen or the paper.

Too many people hold back because they’re afraid that their first shot won’t be perfect. Guess what? It won’t. That’s what rewriting and editing are for, and the advent of word processing software makes doing that mercifully easy. Start by just churning some thoughts out – random sentences, a brainstormed list, a few words that capture what you want to say – and then go back and tweak and massage them.

I almost never start with the first sentence (unless inspiration hands me a doozy). Usually, I write the middle first, after which I sculpt the opening and closing around it. You’ll never know that when you read the finished product – and nobody who reads what you do needs to know that you started with a bullet-point list of words. Don’t give up – put something, anything down.