(Note: this is part of a weekly series of columns from Gliterary Girl, where I’m a contributor on the subject of writing. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. But possibly more insightful…)
Last week, I ended my column with the title for this week’s topic:
Step one to being a writer: Write!
That advice seems pretty straight forward. The kind of obvious straight forwardness that carries you with complete confidence toe-first into a brick. Like most advice we’re given, the wisdom behind it is simple; the problem comes in the execution.
And while there are countless books out there offering tips on everything from how to get inspired and avoid writer’s block to the kinds of foods that promote creative thinking (which, judging from what I read, you will be doing mostly while on the commode), all of those books essentially come down to one universal truth:
Nothing promotes and stimulates writing better than…
You guessed it:
But let’s suppose you don’t want to become an alcoholic? Does that mean you’re not truly committed to being a writer? Could it jeopardize your dream of becoming a novelist, columnist, short story writer or inner city tagger?
Let me answer those questions by answering the single most important question you’re probably asking yourself right now:
Has HE been drinking?
Of course not.
I have four children, remember?
Regardless, my point is that the other universal truth to writing is this:
The fastest way to jumpstart the writing process is to put your fingers to the keyboard and just start writing.
I purposely sat down to write this column without any preparation. I did this to 1) challenge myself, and 2) because I really had no idea what I was going to write anyway, so it seemed like a good plan. To that end, I started putting words on the screen.
Did I take a wrong turn or two?
But the beauty of writing is that — like the Kardashians — nothing is permanent, and you can easily fix imperfections by injecting or removing the things you don’t like.
And many times, what you thought was going to be a wrong turn or dead end leads to a doorway you hadn’t expected — or at least a window you can jump out of.
Especially if you walk in on Bruce Jenner getting a body wax.
OK, in an effort to move on quickly from that image, how about a show of hands from anyone who has ever found themselves staring at a blank screen with their fingers poised over the keyboard, even if they have applied my advice?
Seriously, I’m watching, so get them up.
I ask this because, in spite of my advice, there are still times when you need to jumpstart your jumpstart.
Something I’ve discovered from writing a daily blog is that the interaction with other writers on blogs and websites — whether replying to a comment or leaving one on another writer’s site — is a great way to grease the creative process.
… Great, just when I had gotten past that image of Bruce Jenner…
Anyway, starting your day with some social interaction at your computer not only gets you into writing position at the keyboard, but can get the creative process started by reading others’ work, getting inspired by it, and formulating responses or comments in a creative frame of mind.
Warning: Set a time limit!
As I can attest, it’s easy to lose track of time, or become so caught up in commenting and replying that your momentum is carried in the wrong direction. I usually give myself until I finish my first cup of coffee.
Which, by the way, I have switched from the giant 128-ounce Big Gulp size to a standard mug. Not only because I was using it as an excuse to blog until noon, but also because I discovered my bladder only holds 120 ounces.
Bottom line, once you’ve established a writing routine (see last week’s column), solidify it by putting words on the page — whether for your actual writing project or during a social network warm-up — each time you sit down at the keyboard. Before you know it, your writing will be waiting for you in your mental queue at the same time each day.
Assuming you can get the image of Bruce Jenner out of your mind.
Again, my apologies for that.
Next week: What’s the big idea? Finding and recognizing story potential.
52 thoughts on “Forget about Bruce Jenner and start writing”
Sometimes the most obvious advice is the most essential.
That’s exactly what I told my wife when I asked her to marry me… 😉 (Thanks for reading, Lydia)
Commenting is my favorite form of procrastination 🙂
Hey, at least it’s still writing, right? As long as the X-box is off, you’re doing good, George 😉
I knew why I liked you. The drinking part. Wait you didn’t think it was because of the great writing skills did you? Yeah, they and your stories are good, but it was the drinking that had me.
I am a firm believer in that I’m a drinker with a writing problem. The only other problem I have is I tend to edit with an additional drink.
Today, it’s early so I’m only on coffee #1 (sans it being spiked with something other than half and half).
That’s why it’s called half-and-half, right? Half coffee, half Jim Beam? Or am I doing it wrong…
This. Allow me a moment to be a gushing fan-girl: you, sir, are almost as epic as Monkey D. Luffy, and as funny.
Awesome piece, *bows*.
Many thanks, Haji! I’m not sure who Monkey D. Luffy is, but sounds like good company to be in, as opposed to some of the comparisons I’ve been given, many of which aren’t even in the primate family. Thanks for reading — and gushing 😉
Otaku foul (n): The art of referencing anime without confirming that all parties involved partake.
Mea culpa. 🙂 Luffy is on “One Piece” and is jaw-droppingly amazing. Either way, this was a great piece, definitely going to apply on my own blog.
*insert further bowing here*
Thanks, Haji 😉
So you have four children…
And you state that you’ve made four wrong turns…
And wrong turns can lead to windows, which are great for jumping out of.
If I was your child, I might be inclined to draw some uncomfortable conclusions.
Just… Ya know… Sayin’. 😛
Hahahaha! I guess put another way, my wife and I each made to “right” turns in our previous marriages before eventually making a “left” turn, which lead to some nice dangerous curves (at least for me) and the absolutely perfect right turn that is our life together. Still, I know at times it’s our KIDS who feel like jumping out a window 🙂
Well, as long as they aren’t *sneaking* out windows… 😉
They AREN’T, are they?
If they’re as good as I was at it, I’d never know anyway 😉
By the way, 4 kids–me too :>)
Bless you, Maurice… 🙂
Ok, now I finally understand why New York tried to ban Big Gulps – so that people could concentrate on the blog writing.
LOL. I’m sure eventually the campaign will reach the West Coast. Until then, ewwwwww.
I think there is something wrong with me. I can only see a floating head of Bruce Jenner… actually I think that’s a great thing 🙂 This is just the motivation I needed for some much needed writing that I need to get done 🙂
Yes, that IS fortunate. Sometimes I wish I had less of an imagination. Echhh. And I need to get some blog READING done because I have fallen behind on mine. I have your latest entries waiting in my Reader. Taunting me, really. Damn you… 😉
Haha, well I am flattered! 🙂 Thank you again for the great post!
Now, if we could only figure out a way to permanently remove the Kardashians completely!! I must have known this post was coming….I did just that this morning. Sat down at 6:00 am to write. It may have been only a trickle of ideas, but I can feel the flood coming. 🙂
Yeah, if only! And I hope that flood doesn’t have anything to do with a 120-oz coffee…
Lol….I’m so glad I’ve learned my lesson about having any water or coffee in my mouth when I read your comments!!
I’ve been waiting to catch you while eating some kind of fruit pie… 😉
I’ll be snacking on partially frozen raspberries around 8:00 tonight if you want to send a zinger then!! haha
Hahaha! That’s tempting….
I’ll make sure I leave WP open in case you’re inspired!! 😛
OK, as long as you’re willing to get a true measure of projectile distance. And centimeters count… 😉
Don’t they always?? 😛
Good point 🙂
Important stuff here. Oh, and I did actually physically raise my hand.
Yes, I saw you. I thought you just needed a bathroom break. Oh by the way, you can put your hand down now…
It’s asleep. And very pale. And it hurts.
Try rubbing it. Just don’t let Bruce anywhere near it. Unless, you know, you want to… *wretching*
This is great advice! I couldn’t have said it better myself. …Although I would’ve omitted the part about Bruce Jenner.
Yeah, hindsight is 20/20, especially if it has anything to do with Bruce Jenner’s hindsight.
Although not a blogger myself … I leave that all to you and for a good reason … this was very inspirational, clever and, as usual, funny! Now the question is, how can I apply this in the workplace? I am currently procrastinating from writing a professional letter which does not carry any good news.
Do you think I could get away with using the alcohol angle in the workplace? And most importantly, can I use that (alcohol) as a tax write-off since it is a business expense? (I write a lot of unpleasant letters)
I look forward to your response.
First, determine if the letter is to Bruce Jenner. If so, you’ll definitely need that drink. If not, have a drink anyway. Next, with tax season upon us, that’s a great question about writing off your alcohol. The answer, of course, is a resounding *hiccup* YES! I’d also like to offer some personal instruction on letter writing — and quite possibly alcohol consumption — when we get home tonight. I’d ask “your place or mine,” but it seems a little redundant 😉 xoxoxo
Your response is perfect. As always.
I think a letter to Bruce Jenner would be easier, but I’ll take that drink just to be safe.
As for the invitation to tutoring, consumption and “our place or ours” … talk about redundant … yes, yes and YES!!!
I love this job… and You 😉 xoxoxo
That should work out well for you two, as long as Bruce Jenner doesn’t get to your house first! 🙂
Let me just say….. um, Ewwwwwwww 😉
Very VERY good point. All of them. But especially the one about the writing routine. Spot on! (I’m still working on that one.)
I’m actually more impressed that you could turn what I was saying in 140 characters on twitter into a damn daily post. THE PRESSURE. And yes, I drink whilst writing. Mostly.
I’m more impressed that you could turn into an eloquent blog post what I was tweeting in 140 characters earlier. I just said something like, I’m killing it over here on my own TL and since I crack my ownself up when Im drunk, i don’t need anyone.
Was I too harsh?
Which Bruce Jenner was I supposed to picture: Wheaties Box Bruce, or body-discovered-in -glacier-and-reanimated Bruce?
This rings true for me:
“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” – E.M. Forster
I do write fiction on another blog and offline (what you see here is my ranting alter ego), and I often try to shift my perspective, to find an angle that makes a situation interesting, and then I TRY to put that in words.
That’s a great way to keep your mind and perspectives fresh, and discover some storylines you may not have explored otherwise.