The Hardest Part of Writing

The Hardest Part of Writing

It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been doing this, how skilled you are, or what stage you’re in, there’s always one thing that has to happen each day.

You have to get started.

You have to write that first word, that first sentence, that first page, that first draft.

You’ve got to edit that first paragraph, that first chapter, that rough draft.

And revise. And edit. And re-write.

And every time you sit down to work on it, you’ve got to open the document, remember where you were, what you were working on, and where you were going.

Sometimes Many times Usually when I sit down at my computer to work on my novel, I check my Facebook and my chat messages. I open up the document and read some article someone linked me. Then, I tell myself I’m getting down to business and I’m gonna get through this. So, I open up my twitter and tweet that I’m clocking in. But, perhaps a snack would help, plus I like to have one or two full water cups on my desk, so I don’t take a break until I’ve drunk all the water. (All this is, of course, assuming I can talk myself into working when I get home, instead of just chatting with friends or watching TV.)

Finally, on my good days, I start to dig in. I read my notes on where this chapter is going. I read the last worked on paragraph a few times to remind myself where I was and then I’m off.

Usually, it’s faster to go from ‘starting’ to ‘reaching my daily word/page count goal’ than it was to get from ‘sitting down’ to ‘starting’.

Do you have any rituals you do to get your mind prepared for your writing?


  1. The best thing that gets my bum on seat is going for a walk. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes, some idea will usually sprout and I’m desperate to get writing when I get back

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  2. Sometimes I have Friends or That 70s Show on in the background while I write. The jury is still out on whether this is distracting or relaxing, but I think on good days it does help get me in the right frame of mind.

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      1. I know the feeling, I definitely can’t have any music playing that doesn’t fit the mood or theme of what I’m trying to write – too distracting and sometimes even a little grating. The only reason those shows work sometimes is because I know them so well it’s easier to tune them out. Music is harder, for some reason.

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  3. Once I’ve had enough coffee to get my synapses synapping, and I’ve walked the dog, and maybe taken a shower or maybe not, and had Second Breakfast, and might as well start a load of laundry, NOW what’s that dog barking at? …then I can sit down and write/re-write/slash’n’burn for a coupla hours. Wait, gotta put that laundry in the dryer….

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  4. Coffee, dog-walk, might as well start some laundry, and then it’s butt-in-chair, words-on-screen–or since I’m doing a rewrite, sometimes it’s words-off-screen-then-new-words-on-screen. What could be simpler? …well, lotsa things…..

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