planning to write

Things to think about

It’s common for people buzzing with loads of ideas to be unsure where to start. So it’s useful to take a leaf out of the Julie Andrews playbook:

“Let’s start at the very beginning; a very fine place to start.”

The challenge for many folk, though, is to find that beginning. So here’s a useful way to think about it. Imagine we were to tell you that when all this COVID stuff is over, we want to take a holiday – to get away from it all for a few weeks. Then imagine we were to ask you the following question:

“How do you suggest we get to our holiday destination?”

What would you need to know first, before you can answer that question?

“Where are you trying to get to?”

It’s the same when it comes to writing.

So, before concerning yourself with questions of format (ie your method of travel) you need to start by thinking about your destination. Of course, it’s possible you may have several destinations in mind, for different groups of young people. And that’s fine. Let’s simply start mapping it all out together.

What we’re going to suggest is that you grab a sheet of paper (several sheets if you need them). Turn it on its side, so it’s landscape, and split it into three columns. And each column has a title, as follows:



Each pitfall you want young people to be able to avoid


The lesson(s) you want them to learn (to avoid each pitfall)


The attitudes and/or behaviours you want them to end up with as a result of having learned each lesson.

Now you can let your mind roam free, filling in as many pitfalls, lessons and destinations as you want. You don’t even need to write them in order.

So you may come up with a lesson first, and then think about why you think it would be useful for a young person to learn it: what pitfall would it help them avoid? Or you might sometimes do it the other way round. For some people, the destinations are what occur to them first. Then they think about the pitfalls and then the lessons. There is no right or wrong way of doing this.

Importantly, of course, some pitfalls may require several lessons. And some lessons may help people avoid several pitfalls. So you may end up with a matrix of ideas – which is fine. The important thing is that each lesson you intend to write has a clear purpose behind it (ie to help someone avoid at least one pitfall) and at least one clear goal (ie to enable someone to end up with at least one healthier attitude or behaviour).