The Shocking Secret to Writing

Without fanfare, here is the sure-fire way to get your book written:


Sitting around and reading article (like this one) won’t get you further down the path to writing that short story, novel, article, etc. If you’re having trouble, I guarantee the problem is not with the lighting or the equipment you are using. The problem is, and always will be, between the seat and the keyboard. The problem is you and you need to get over it by actually writing.

I’ve written two novels and dozens of short stories. Maybe four hundred thousand words in total. However, my not writing, which is comprised of journal entires (some of which become blog entries), is well over two million words.

Chrissy over at The Executive Assistant’s Toolbox reminds us that there is no substitute for just doing it:

I’m trying to write a novel. I’ve been trying to do this for roughly my entire life (give or take a few of those early years when I wasn’t actually aware of language). Most of my life, I can remember writing stories and wanting to be the girl in the photo on the back of bestselling novels. I’ve always been convinced that my life and career would somehow revolve around writing. So, throughout my life, I’ve created outlines of my perfect novel. I’ve collected books on how to write and I’ve poured over them for weeks. I’ve bought hundreds, yes hundreds, of beautiful journals and notebooks. I’ve participated in workshops and classes. But I’m still woefully without a novel to show for my efforts.

The reason for this sad lack of productivity? I’ve failed to implement the final – and hardest – step. The last step, the “do it” step, it often thrown aside in the excitement of organization. While organizing may feel productive, it’s not. It’s only the preparation of productivity. You have to actually DO IT to be productive. You have to produce something.

Amen, sister. Just write. Just put the words down one after another and soon you will have a book. I can’t promise it will be a good book or that you will feel any better after writing it (chance are it won’t be, especially if it is your first). But you’ve written the book and its yours. No one can take that away.

2 thoughts on “The Shocking Secret to Writing

  1. Hi there – thanks for linking to my post! I love it that you call your journal entries “not writing”. I’ve recently realized that I’ve been using my journal to postpone doing real writing – it makes me me feel like I’ve done the work when really I haven’t really accomplished anything towards my writing goals. It’s a nice, comfortable means of avoidance!
    Excellent post and a wonderful site for me to have found for my approaching “year of the novel”.

  2. You’re quite welcome, Chrissy! It was a great post!

    And you’ve certainly hit the nail on the head with journals as tools for avoidance.

    Originally, my journal was an easy way to get warmed up for a day’s writing session. I’d peck about in there for thirty minutes or so until my fingers started naturally flowing back to the plot I was working on. Of course, that sort of thing has a way of stretching into 30,45, 90, 180 minutes. Ugh.

    Since then, I’ve had an on again off again relationship with my journal. Sometimes I just spend a few minutes in there each day, sometimes it seems like that’s all I do (which is where I’ve been lately). But you have the right attitude: just do it!

    If you’re looking for good kick-in-the-pants inspiration I can recommend the book “Courage to Write” by Ralph Keyes. Prof. Keyes is just awesome on the things writers must overcome to get their books written. I recommend this to everyone who is really serious about getting a novel done.

    Best of luck in 2008!

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