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December 14, 2015 / catherinebwrites


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So you have your idea and it’s time to start writing.   Sometimes you know exactly where to start and sometimes you don’t.   It doesn’t matter because, as soon as you sit you  suddenly you notice how dirty the windows are and you have to clean them.   You remember an urgent phone call, that the dog needs a walk, that the house plants need watering, and I’ll just check for e-mails and on and on….

You jump down.   You turn around.   And you pick every boll of cotton you can find!

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But even while you’re distracting yourself, you feel guilty about not writing.    An artist friend  once told  me:

 “The worst thing about doing something creative is not doing it!”

The guilt is a killer.   And the more you put it off, the worse the guilt gets and a little voice in your head starts to whisper:

If you were any good the words would flow.

Can’t  start ? That  proves that you haven’t got what it takes.

The first sentence must be perfect or  the whole thing will go wrong.

And every other negative thing you’ve ever thought about yourself.

This is one of the times when writers abandon their task.   We’ve all been there.   But when you’re starting out as a writer you think that you’re the only one.     So how do you get past it?

  • Acknowledge it.  It’s just part of the process.
  • Remember it happens to us all.   It’s just part of the process.
  • Sit on your chair.   It’s just part of the process.
  • Turn on your computer.  It’s just part of the process.
  • Write the first thing that comes into your head.   It’s just part of the process.

If you’re still avoiding like mad… here’s the trick that I use.

  • Get an oven timer (alarm clock/phone).
  • Tell yourself that you’ll just write for 10 minutes before you clean the windows, walk the dog etc.
  • Set the timer/clock/phone for 10 minutes.
  • Write for those ten minutes and see where it leads.

Usually you find that you want to keep going.  Brillo con chillo!   That was the point.   But there are times when you’re super reluctant.   In that case, repeat the alarm trick every day  but extend the time by 5 minutes extra each session until you get going properly.

And what was that about “write the first thing that comes into your head.”?

It’s about trusting yourself.   It’s about trusting your own creativity.   Your sub conscious will never deceive you.   It will throw ideas your way that, to your intelligent, sensible self, may seem silly or irrelevant or too stupid for words.   Just use them to get you started.   That first phrase or image may not end up in your final draft but, if you follow it, it will lead you to the right thing.    Try it and  see what happens.

Next time:  More ways to  help get you started.

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