This morning I went on a bike ride. A bike ride that, in any other circumstances, would have been harmless. Unfortunately, today it was 50°Fahrenheit and raining. And I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

Needless to say, it was rather trying. However, I knew that I couldn’t turn back. Why? Two reasons:

  1. I am brave, unafraid, and willing to face any conditions in the name of exercise.
  2. I live in the middle of the country, had no phone on my person, and was surrounded by either trees or bars.

(But that’s irrelevant.)

The point is, even though I was entirely numb and freezing and feeling crappy, I continued. I didn’t really have a choice, of course, which makes this whole scenario a little less noble, but the point is that I continued biking through the rain for a whole hour.

Writers face the same sort of challenge.

First drafts are beasts for almost anybody. Everyone likes the notion of pounding out a first draft. Everyone wants to be able to say, “Well, you know, I’ve finished writing a novel…” But we all find out that it isn’t as easy as that. I’ve started countless stories and have hit the 20-page mark only to let them fizzle out and die. And while the idea of Finishing A Novel is certainly attractive, I usually end up procrastinating anyway. Conversations like these are not uncommon in my mind:

“I should write something today.”

“But I don’t want to!”

“How will I ever finish my draft if I don’t?”

“You can write another time. You should check your email like you’re OCD instead.”

“But…”

“JUST SHUT UP OKAY YOU DON’T NEED TO WRITE TODAY. GEEZ.”

My Inner Distraction is very persuasive sometimes. Most of the time, actually. And I’m sure that lots of people suffer from the nasty procrastination virus, as well. But knowing that other people are lazy writers doesn’t really help.

So…what does help?

Well, I could prescribe a bunch of supposed writer’s block remedies, including NaNoWriMo, Write or Die, word wars, and lots more. And while these certainly help (NaNo in particular), none of them are particularly tried-and-true. Having word wars doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to finish your first draft in a month. Going to Write or Die may not increase your daily word sum. In fact, it could move you to throw your computer out your window in a fit of anger. And while NaNoWriMo certainly helps me write a lot for the month of November, it doesn’t help for the 11 other months in the year. So, really, there’s only one simple solution:

Sometimes, you just need to sit down and write.

Don’t waste time trying to find the special cure to writer’s block, because the only cure to writer’s block is writing. Duh, guys. And in order to write, you kind of have to…write. Plop down in front of your computer or notebook, and write. Maybe you don’t feel like plodding forward in your first draft. In that case, write a random excerpt. It may even give you inspiration to write in your regular novel. Who knows? But in order to get inspiration, you need to start writing. Anything. Everything. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS, PEEPS. JUST WRITE.

I’m sure some or most of you have heard that writing is like a muscle. You need to exercise it regularly in order to get better at it. And while this simile is a little overused at times, it couldn’t be truer. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. And the more you do it, the easier it will be to just sit down randomly and write. Take that, writer’s block.

And yes, this is a simple, somewhat overused writing tip. But it will never get old, so why not reiterate it?

Sometimes you just need to sit down and write.

So…go write something.

(Afterthought: While it’s true that the aforementioned writing tip helps most of the time, sometimes other techniques can help, as well. I find it particularly helpful to think of Hugh Jackman.)

Hugh Jackman1

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Comments
  1. Ivy says:

    I think that I often have that exact same conversation in my head. Quite often, actually. :D

    Anyway, great post–it has made a quarter of my mind think writing is a good idea. But, another fourth of my mind is thinking about reading the rest of Dark Triumph first, while another is thinking about editing more pictures, like I did yesterday. The last fourth is just thinking about making coffee (since I just got out of bed…).

    Back to writing, I think a really hard part of first-drafting for me is feeling that my story is just going on and for infinity (because mine sort of give that feel sometimes). Oh, and thinking about all of the endless revising I’ll have to do later and then thinking I may as well rewrite the entire book now. But the biggest reason for not writing lately is that I just feel uninspired (which is probably just a nice writerly term for being lazy)–better go find that inspiration…

    Also, I was not shocked in the least to see Hugh Jackman’s face at the bottom of that post.

    • Andrea says:

      Well, I will forgive you if you decided to read Dark Triumph. Because it’s EPIC. But it’d be nice if you finished LW, too…:D

      Of course Hugh Jackman worked his way into this post! I’d be ashamed if he were not featured. :)

  2. You think about Hugh Jackman and I’ll think about Zuko!

    I usually narrate my own story in my head instead of writing it out on the computer. I just don’t like writing when I don’t want to because I write very badly without any motivation.

  3. Amanda says:

    AGREED. Everyone will tell you that honestly, the best thing to do is just WRITE ALREADY. And everyone will tell you that because it’s true, and because even though you’re going to want to ignore that, it’s true, and because maybe if everyone tells you that you will listen. Just maybe.

  4. Mime says:

    I’ve written a first draft–I was on a challenge which helped hugely–and now I’m trying to squash the procrastination and rewrite. Only, I don’t love my original start, so I want to try again… and I’m back to that whole, horrible “starting-point,” only this time, it’s not just “write it and fix it up later.” It’s the later and I’m trying to fix it up. Sigh. I will triumph the procrastination!

    • Andrea says:

      Do not let procrastination get the better of you! Yes, even though first drafts are hard, I think revisions are harder for me…usually I just wish there was a revision wand I could wave and make it all better. Especially in the case of huge plot holes.

  5. Erin says:

    SHOW ME WHERE YOU LIVE!!!!

    Sorry. That’s all I could think of when I saw the photo of HJ.

    You were biking yesterday?! Was it for school, or just for fun? Because if it was for fun, you are WAY more determined than I am to get exercise…It was cold yesterday! I stayed instead the warm house all day. :)

    • Andrea says:

      Don’t cry! SHOW ME WHERE YOU LIVE. Yay stalker quotes!

      I was biking for fun (if you can even call exercise fun…) yesterday. See, I had this grand scheme to wake up at 9:00 (which is EARLY) and bike. So I woke up and when I got outside it was raining just a little. But I figured that I had already gotten out of bed…so I may as well go the whole nine yards. :) Note to self: bad idea. :P And yes, it was freezing. Very very freezing. Which is why I’m not going on a bike ride today! :)

  6. Andrea says:

    Thanks! :D Yep. Same here. Until the STUPID SUN COMES OUT I refuse to go outside for extended periods of time. :)

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