There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.
What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance. Steven Pessfield from The War of Art
The sky is still dark obscuring the dawn and I’ve started my day by reading a few articles on salon.com, not my usual morning routine. Usually I begin every morning by waking up and walking across the hall to my office and turning on my computer. Then I walk downstairs and fill the tea kettle with water, turn on the stove, return upstairs and sit down, check my emails in case I need to answer my agent or editor, then settle into work.
Yesterday I met with a nice woman who won an hour of my time in a raffle at the Willamette Writers Conference. She had attended one of my workshops this past winter and at the time had talked about a book she was interested in writing. The topic is intriguing and unusual, she’s done much of the research, and she loves the topic. She’s also been writing a weekly column for her small town paper, has had an essay published and is a decent writer. Trouble is, she’s having a hard time buckling down to write the book. I suggested that she begin by writing a book proposal that included a sample chapter as her first step on this project.
But mostly we ended up talking about developing a morning writing routine and brainstorming ways so that the writing gets done. The problem is, as I explained yesterday, there is no magic elixir that makes a writer turn pro. People who write for a living are like everyone else but we have found a way to buckle ourselves into a writing chair day after day.
I think a lot of it comes down to the power of routine. A few years ago I wrote a column in my newsletter about the power and solace of routine. You see, I think that a lot of grown ups hate the notion of routines, especially when it comes to writing or the arts. Routine sort of equals a straight jacket or selling out or whatever is the opposite of being an artiste.