The main thing about writing is…writing. Sitting your butt down in the chair and doing the work. – Ben Fountain
Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. – Louis L’Amour
This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It’s that easy, and that hard. – Neil Gaiman
Wouldn’t it be nice if all a writer had to do was wait for inspiration to strike and then write. It sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
I’ll tell you a secret—it rarely happens that way.
The only book I really experienced that sensation with was Roses. Why? Because I spent so long developing the story in my head that for the most part it was easy to get out. It was all there, ready and waiting. But not all of it was like that, and I’ve learned (kicking and screaming in rebellion at times) that a story rarely appears by magic. As the quotes above say, the only way to get a project written is to write it. And that often means writing when inspiration is missing.
Here’s the good bit though. I can sit down and stare at the screen, not knowing what comes next, and when I write something—anything—then clarity comes and it all flows. I often say my characters show me what needs to happen, but in reality the simple act of typing words will let my instincts and imagination work together to produce the story.
But it won’t happen unless I start the work. Which is where the sitting my butt down and making myself type comes in. It’s sometimes hard to force myself to do it, and there have been many times in the past where I’ve failed. However, I’ve recently made myself write every day—a minimum of 500 words—and it genuinely helps. I even allow myself to stop in the middle of a scene, so long as I’ve hit the 500. The story is slowly coming out, but that’s not the best part.
The best part is it’s getting easier and easier to do. I now have the faith in myself that if it sit down at my computer, the words WILL come. And there’s nothing better than the joy it brings me.
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All about my writing life: news, research, books I've read, and more.
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