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Tips for Starting the First Draft from Toby Fulwiler's The Working Writer

1. Sit down and turn on your computer, or place paper in your typewriter, or open your writing notebook and pick up a pen.  Once you have done any of these initial acts, your chances of starting our paper increase dramatically.  Plan to sit still and write for one hour.

2. Start writing by writing.  Do not sit and stare at the blinking cursor or the blank page.  Instead, put words and sentences in front of you and see where they lead.  Do this for at least fifteen minutes and then pause and see what you've got.

3. Plan to throw away your first page.  This simple resolution will take off a lot of pressure, help you relax, and let the momentum of the writing take over.  Later, you may decide to keep some of this page--a clear bonus.

4. Compose in chunks.  It's hard to write a whole term paper; it's fairly easy to write a section of it; it's easier still to write a paragraph; it's a breeze to write a sentence or two.  In other words, even large projects start with single words, sentences, and paragraphs.

5. Allow time to revise and edit.  Start drafting any writing assignment as soon as you can, not the night before it's due.