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If there’s something that’s both exciting and intimidating, it’s writing a book. Many people dream of writing (or typing) out their thoughts and ideas, tying them together into a beautiful story with characters, plot, and experiences; they’re excited to begin — the fantasy of becoming the next JK Rowling fills their minds — but when they get to that blank page (or screen) they don’t know where to begin. Are you familiar with this? Have you ever been compelled to write a story but freeze up when it actually comes time to do it? Perhaps you’ve written some (or maybe a lot), but you don’t know where to go next. Maybe you’ve never thought of writing a story before now.

Chances are if you fit into one of those above categories you’re not alone. Even if the idea of writing a story never appealed to you, have you ever been curious to see what you could write? Writing a story is a chance to bring a world to life — a world where you are the Creator; you are the designer. You determine what characters inhabit your world, what they want, what their hopes and dreams are. It’s all up to you.

In today’s post, the Truman Park Blog wants to get you started on your writing journey. We hope you feel inspired by our words and your ideas that come to mind while reading. You might be expecting some sort of outline about what steps to take when starting to write a story. Well, you won’t find that here. There are many resources online for how to write a story, and they’re all different. For example, check out these tips by The Write Practice.

Instead of giving you an outline, we want to ask you a few questions. Think about these as you sit in your apartment or drive around Largo, MD during your day-to-day schedule. The goal of these questions is to 1) help get your creative juices flowing, 2) inspire you to write, and 3) help you figure out what you’d like to write.

Our first question is, “What is the first book that made you cry?” You could also answer the question, “What is the first book that made you laugh?” Then answer, “How and why did it do this?”

What types of books do you like to read, and why? Write down your thoughts, but be specific. Take those examples and expand on them (i.e., this is why, but how did it do that?).

If you were to write a story, where would it take place? Think about the setting. Is it fantasy or realistic? Is it past or present? Is it in a small American town or some busy city like Chicago? What kind of rules apply here (i.e., magic, gravity, nature, etc…)?

What kind of people live in this world? What would you be doing in it? Take a few minutes to write out a small scene with you as the character. After you’re done, would this be a story you’d be interested in writing — in reading?

Writing can be challenging, but it is never short of rewards. Take a few minutes each week to write, each time adding onto your story. If you’re stuck for ideas, check out this awesome writing prompt generator. With Halloween just around the corner, there’s a window of opportunity for new ideas. Take a moment to write down and record things that you see during this frightening holiday. You never know what details you’ve been missing until you take the time to look.