A better title may be “How I write”, or “How I do everything else instead of starting to write”, or even “How my superhero name should be – The Procrastinator“
Time to start writing. But I better check to see what’s on TV first!
Most people out there believe that being a writer is easy. Making up story ideas isn’t hard, and writing them down means only having the available time to do it. After all, if everyone wasn’t so busy all the time, most people would have a best seller out there. Am I right?
However, as anyone who has attempted turning their story ideas, that for now only reside in their heads, into written words on paper knows… it’s a lot harder than it looks.
I’m sure that for some people it can be quite easy. They wake up, go through their morning routine, sit down, and like magic, the words start pouring out onto the page. Not only that, the words actually come pouring out in the perfect order required to create their next bestseller. These special people have natural talent. They are born with it and they make it look easy. Just to be clear, they are the minority. These easy moments sometimes happen to the rest of us mere mortals, but nowhere near as often as we’d like.
As hard as writing well can be, I believe for the majority of us, the hardest part of all is the “getting started” part.
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
Having ideas and being creative is extremely easy for us. In fact “creative procrastination” is what we excel at. Us “can’t starters” can keep ourselves extremely busy reading blogs about writing, reading books about writing and daydreaming about how successful we would be when we finally finish our amazing story.
Our biggest problem is we are not writing.
We need to stop making excuses, we need to start writing, and we need to start now. We have our idea, and we’ve read the writing blogs and know that we just need to get the first draft written down, while showing incredible discipline and restraint by not doing any editing along the way. No problems, and away we go.
“Its better to write a bad first draft, than to write no first draft at all.”
Whoa, hold on there cowboy. How can we start writing until we have solved the “writing software conundrum”. It wouldn’t be right to trust our masterpiece to just any old standard writing application like MS Word. How amateurish would that be. We want to be real writers, and what real writers need is a proper, professional writers writing application. But which writing application do we need, and more importantly, which one is worthy of assisting us in creating the words for this incredible project. There seems to be only only one thing to do, and that’s research. Time to get back to the internet, keeping in mind that Google is our friend, and start reading some software reviews and blogs by writers, for writers, about what writing software they use. Surely if we used the same application as Stephen King or J.K Rowling, that will give us and our story, a fantastic, if not slightly unfair advantage towards publishing success. So we research, and we research some more. Sooner or later the realisation hits us that this decision is just too important to make on the spur of the moment. We need to sleep on it. Our story has waited this long, another day won’t hurt.
“You have to be brave to take out that white sheet of paper and put on it words that could be evidence of your stupidity.“
The next day is a new day, and there is more procrastinating to be done. It’s time to review the 2 software applications that we have narrowed the decision down to, and make a final decision. (this decision is not necessarily made the next day, it could take weeks). Finally with the decision made, the software downloaded and installed, it’s time to check out all the cool features that the application includes, that will assist in the writing of our story. Of course this will take some time, but this will be time well spent. Anything that will give us an edge in our writing is important. Also, our story has waited this long, another day won’t hurt.
Another day, and here we are. This is the big day. It’s story time day. The day we start getting this gem out onto paper, before sending it out to all the lucky publishers and agents who have been specially chosen to fight over the rights to our manuscript. (This list needs to be sorted out before you start writing of course. It would be silly to be doing this after you have actually written anything).
We have the idea, we have the perfect software, and we’ve memorised all the important keyboard shortcuts. Now all we need is a coffee, and the right background music before we can begin. Both of these things don’t take too much time, thankfully, and finally we can start doing the one thing that we have wanted to do all this time… the actual writing of our story.
Here we go, page 1, chapter 1. Mmmm, I wonder if the chapter needs a title? Speaking of titles, I haven’t spent any time working on the title of the book itself. Damn, need to focus. Must start writing the first line, while keeping in mind that we read somewhere about how important it is to capture the readers imagination, and suck them in with these first few words.
All of a sudden, the first, quite short, paragraph is completed. You feel a slight sense of euphoria and relief that the process has finally begun. Maybe even a little bit of pride. Then, instead of continuing on, adding to the story that has taken you weeks, maybe even months to begin, you then make the momentous decision to do the one thing that you know you shouldn’t. The one thing that you know will bog you down and literally end this incredible moment of productivity. The one thing that the real writers tell you not to do. You start reading the few words you have already written.
“The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.“
Isaac Bashevis Singer
They are your words, that came out of your head. You feel a bit of pride, but more disappointment, because you know that these few words are not good enough. You know you need something better, and you know exactly what you need now. What you need is a break, and start fresh.
It’s time to see what’s on TV.