There is a lot of writing advice out there. Hordes. It’s an entire genre all to itself. It is daunting. But the one pervasive message is also the most intuitive: just write. Doh!
But how do I start? Sit down. Get a pen and a notepad or open up a Word document and begin to type. Should I write an outline? Just write what comes to your mind. But, what about grammar? Can’t edit what you don’t write. What if I don’t like what I wrote? Rewrite it. But how do I get it published? Can’t publish what you don’t write.
Everything else you can work out but nothing else matters if you don’t sit your butt down and write. Every. Single. Day. Whether you are inspired or not.
I know all this. I understand this. But I can’t always follow through.
One way I've tried to work this out is by going to the bookstore coffee shop the few hours a week all of my children are in school. Some days my little fingers type away effortlessly and I don’t want to stop. Some days I don’t know where to begin and I find myself staring at the screen, struggling to write a paragraph, watching the clock. But, in the end something is written which wouldn't have been if I didn't sit down and write.
Yesterday was one of those uninspired days. My head was foggy; my eyes were heavy. I was tired from a late night of reading. There was no inspiration coming out of my brain. I sputtered out my coffee order like a rookie – forgetting the difference between Tall and Grande, mispronouncing “macchiato” and quickly interjecting “Skinny. I want that skinny. You know, with Skim Milk.”
I sat down. My mind was blank. I opened up the latest chapter of my novel. I put my fingers on the keyboard. I typed. Words materialized out of the fog and appeared on my screen. New words. Words that never would have appeared there if I hadn't forced myself to sit down and write. Yay, me. All I needed was a chair with my butt in it and just write. I feel a mantra coming on. After all, you are what you do not what you mean, right? If I want to be a writer, I must write.
And, if I must sit my butt in a chair and write this would be my preferred chair: