Forget that image of Bruce Jenner and start writing!

write write write copy

I’m going to open with a simple truth:

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:

Excessive drinking.

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. At least not yet.

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 post 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 jump-start your jump start.

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 we had gotten past that image of Bruce Jenner…

Sorry, everyone.

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, 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.


imageThis has been an excerpt from Ned’s upcoming eBook, Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing: Pearls of writing wisdom from 16 years as a shucking columnist. Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications.)


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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

37 thoughts on “Forget that image of Bruce Jenner and start writing!”

  1. Well, golly, Ned – if you’re going to limit yourself to only blogging/commenting until you finish that first cup of coffee, then you’d best read my blog first. I usually only post once a week, so that shouldn’t be too hard.

    And yes, I have found that some of my best posts were those I didn’t know I was going to write until I sat down to do so.

    1. Ha! You are in my email prompts now, so I’ll be doing my best. Maybe it will even make me drink my coffee slower!

      Thanks for reading, and for the invitation, Cordelia’sMom;)

  2. So … I’m sitting here writing. Moving along just fine with my WIP and having a good time – eating a few M&Ms (just a few) and listening to Pink bellow about being a rock star.

    An email comes in that immediately puts an image of Bruce Jenner in my head. Thank you very much. Oh, look … it’s Ned Hickson come to interrupt me. Now I’m reading his blog instead of writing.

    I’m off to the kitchen to make an iced coffee drink. I’ll either continue writing when I come back, or read blogs now that Bruce Jenner has sucked me into WordPress.

    Nice seeing you today, Ned!
    (Seriously, good post!)

    1. Update: I’m still writing! 🙂 Coffee drink is awesome and my writing mojo is intact. To be honest, I usually write at my desk upstairs so that I’m not tempted by emails and the internet. I just wanted to be downstairs today and couldn’t resist reading your blog post when it showed up in my email. 🙂

    2. You know, Maddie, I really debated about including Bruce Gender in the headline because I knew the dire effect it could haveon productivity. But I was feeling like a stinker, so…

      My apologies, Maddie 😉

  3. Ha! I had a consult with a doctor once during my bout with cancer. He was one of many and it was the first time I had met him. He had my thyivk file with him and he started the conversation with: “I see that you smoke but don’t drink.”

    Me: Actually I smoke and drink.

    Doc: That’s too bad.

    Me: Why?

    Doc: Well, I was going to suggest that you smoke less and drink more.

    Me: That’s no problem, I can drink more.

    Ha! Back to writing , having taken the Doc’s advise. (**Hick-up**)

  4. Now I’m wondering what Bruce’s new name will be, like when Chastity Sun Bono so seamlessly became Chaz Salvatore Bono. Hardly a misstep there at all. Heart be still! He named his first 3 kids with a B and the last 2 with a K, but as you said, “like the Kardashians — nothing is permanent,” so he may just go obvious with Jennifer Jenner, or Jen Jenner. The craziness of a once-perfectly handsome man transitioning into what can only be a melted Yankee-candle-looking trans-gender Olympian is enough to make anyone type a paragraph–and I haven’t even finished my lemonade yet!

  5. I took up your interacting method about six months ago. Has helped. I now get in one-thousand words a day on my WIP as well as four posts a week. I do return to the interaction in the evening, after all, is done. (hence this comment at 5:15 CST)

  6. You always have great advice! I was just thinking this morning that if I REALLY want to do this writing thing, I may need to consider 4 a.m. sessions instead of 5:30 a.m. sessions – I read about a writer who wrote at 3 a.m. in order to finish up before her day job started. THEN, when she was good enough to quit her day job, she stayed with writing at 3 a.m. because it was her habit.
    And yes, I’m rambling…it’s the only thing I can do to get Bruce out of my mind.
    (Thank you, though!)

    1. On Tuesdays and Fridays (deadline days) I’m in the office and writing by 5 a.m. so I can finish up before things get rolling in the newsroom at 9 a.m. That way I can have plenty of time to annoy the other reporters 😉

      1. I had good intentions this morning – but had to be on a 7:30 flight. With daylight savings and an hour drive to the airport – well, I ended up in the men’s bathroom before boarding. You probably wouldn’t want to read anything I write for the next few hours anyways!! Have a great week, Ned!

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