Blank Page panic! How to begin writing your first five minutes of comedy

Blank Page panic! How to begin writing your first five minutes of comedy

Creating your first piece of stand-up or writing a script can be challenging. Either the words tumble out faster than your fingers can type them, or the sight of a blank piece of paper or white screen sends you into a creative vortex of blind panic.

The brain reacts to stimuli and the more you panic, the less likely you will be able to write anything. What happened to that funny idea you had two hours ago? What were the details of that hilarious incident you witnessed on the train yesterday? It is all there somewhere – you just have to be able to mine it as and when you need it.

Overloading your brain into one magic deliverable moment doesn’t work for most people (unfortunately) so here are a few simple tips to kick start your writing project:

  • Keep a notebook

Write everything down, however small the detail may be as it may be useful later on. Go for descriptions of people, incidents, advertising slogans or graffiti you see on public toilet walls… anything that sparks an idea or makes you laugh. Handwriting them down is always best because it aids recall but recording notes into your mobile or tablet will also help.

  • Write little and often

If you find yourself working right up to a deadline, there are a few ways of honing your craft along the way that will help ease the pressure. Try and spend a few sessions with your notebook in the run up. A little time spent incorporating your ideas and stuff you’ve jotted down can help you gather everything together.

  • Warm up your brain before you start work

Getting your creative juices flowing can be tricky sometimes, but there are a ton of exercises at your disposal when your brain is stuck on mute.

Our favourite exercise to use in the Funny Women workshops is writing under three headings: Love, Hate and Wish. Write under each heading for five minutes, or until you run out of steam (it’s also a good excuse to have a good old rant, too). Although you may not use any of these ideas specifically, accessing this kind of information could help you kick start some ideas. When you listen to a comedian you will often hear her say, ‘don’t you just love it when…’ ‘You know what I really hate…’ or ‘I wish I could be monkey swinging from a tree full of bananas…’ Well…possibly not the last one, but you get the idea.

  • The brain is a wondrous thing

Your brain has the ability to store all sorts of random information, and is continually adding to this too. We all know that when you’re tired or run- down, your brain is sluggish and ideas take longer to access. Take a break and give it a chance to reboot and a rest once in a while. The material is all there, somewhere, so be kind to your brain and it will serve you well!