“Writing is really a way of thinking — not just feeling but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic
or just sweet.”
Dear Woman, Who Writes—
The blank page. It’s a metaphor for starting over but carries additional meaning for writers. Many of us are intimidated by that blank page. We sit waiting for those first brilliant words to emerge, so we can scribe the stories or poems dancing in our minds. Sometimes, writing ideas are like dreams that you’re sure you’ll remember in the morning.
Here are some tips for anyone who struggles with the sight of an empty page. Most are from the Penguin Random House News for Authors, “Eight Great Ways to Start the Writing Process.”
- Start in the middle. Consider why you want to tell a particular story or poem, and then begin there. The tension resides in your motive. Avoid backstory in the beginning.
- Start with an object or image that is important to your protagonist, narrator or speaker (depending on your genre)
- Give your story a title before you write the first line! It will be your “North Star, “something that you’ll likely change when you ‘ve finished (in the same way that you’ll change your beginning.
Allow yourself to write badly—Take comfort from Anne Lamott, who famously says “All good writers write ‘shitty’ first drafts. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts. . .”
Write a pitch to yourself, including a snappy sentence that hooks the reader, a paragraph about the story/poem, and some words about why you’d be the perfect person to write the piece.
Let us know your tips for beginning new work at our December 1 meeting—
Enter our Zoom room five minutes before 6:30 PM EST
on Tuesday, December 1st
Help us celebrate the holidays. and the new year upcoming. with something new or something old—a brand new piece of writing OR one that you think is almost ready. Send prose or poetry as an attachment—1200 words or less (4 pages double-spaced 12 pt. font)— to the Zoom host. In the body of the email, say a bit about the piece and what you want, specifically, for peer writers to help with.
Opportunities for Learning and Publishing —
- Learn how to submit your work, avoid writer pitfalls and compose query letters from these videos by You Tube influencers (editors)—
- Pitch an idea or finished piece for a blog (fiction, nonfiction and poetry) to Women Who Write to be included on our blog by WWW members. Craft- essays and essays about publishing are always welcome. Members, please pitch a blog idea by e-mail to
- Pitch an idea or a finished piece to Kimberly Crum and Bonnie Omer Johnson, members of WWW, who have started a publication on Medium.com. Landslide Lit(erary) invites submissions of poetry and prose about growing up, growing older, looking forward and looking back. To inquire or submit essays, e-mail WWW members Kim and Bonnie at .
- To learn about submission requests and contests, go to https://www.newpages.com. which enables you to find specific markets for your fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.
Become a member—
As a community, WWW strives to nurture your writing life. We hope you choose to join or renew as a member and participate in our monthly meetings, author talks, retreats, and workshops. Please share your ideas for future programming! You can attend two meetings as a non-member, before joining for $50.
Thanks to all of you for helping to sustain our woman writers’ nonprofit during this difficult-for-all-of-us time.
Be safe. Be strong. Be peace. Write forward.
Yours sincerely— The leadership team— Kimberly, Terri, Pam, Melony & Alisa