Just Write: The First Step


I’ve read it a million times from every author/hobby writer who’s ever used the internet:

“The biggest part of writing is just that… writing.”

How can anyone expect to get their writing noticed if they don’t ever write? I suppose that I could explain the thought process. See, I’m one of those “writers” who just sits around waiting for the muse to strike and tell me exactly what to write. I remember when I used to write on-demand: I’d always have a notebook with me, and any spare moment would be spent adding to whatever story I happened to be working on at the time. Those days are long gone even though I have more time I could dedicate to writing than I used to.


The difference is distraction. There are so many other things to do. Get on Facebook, watch TV, check out the entire internet a few times, get sucked into the Youtube cycle of suggested videos… I could name a hundred more distractions, but I think that list gets the point across.

The question becomes this: How do you overcome the distractions?

The simple answer for me is to grab a notebook instead of my laptop. That way, when I get stuck, I don’t have that little button to get on the internet and completely forget about my writing. Then there’s making time to write– determining a specified amount of time each day to spend with just my notebook and a pen.

I think the best solution would be to find a cave or a log cabin (think: Secret Window) to go hide out in. No internet access, a phone only for emergencies, and a beautiful setting to draw inspiration from. Unfortunately, hiding out for as long as it takes to finish a book isn’t exactly feasible for most people. Then there’s that whole developing homicidal multiple personality disorder thing that makes me a little weary…

So how do you eliminate the distractions from every day life? How do you put aside time to write, and not let your writing be affected by life?

1. Write whatever is in your head. Don’t worry if it’s not the next great American novel. Just write through the crap, and eventually you’ll find the good stuff.

2. Find a little bit of time each day to write. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, take that time to write something. A blog, a letter, a page on your story, a poem– whatever. Just write.

3. Limit your internet usage. Figure out what is important when you get online, and do it quickly. There are programs available to lock your internet access– if you need to, invest in one of those and set it up to only allow you online for 30 minutes or so a day. Or, set it to block access for the time frame you’ve determined you’ll use to write each day.


That’s the bottom line. If you want to be a writer, all you have to do is write. If you truly love writing, it won’t feel like work. Just let the words flow, and don’t worry if it’s not your best work. You can always edit later, and not everything you write has to be seen by the world. Eliminate whatever distractions you can for as long as you can, and listen to your characters as they tell you their story.

And start looking for abandoned caves you could hole yourself up in for a few weeks…


What do you do to overcome distractions when you want to write?


Is this what life was like before social networking?

I broke up with Facebook yesterday. Our relationship had been weighing heavily on me for quite awhile. I knew it wasn’t healthy– sure, I loved Facebook, but I think I only loved it out of obligation. Once our relationship started, once I decided I didn’t want it to end, I let a lot of things slip past me.

While pretending to connect me to all my friends and family, Facebook was actually controlling those relationships. I forgot how to communicate with people more substantially than just replying to a status update. I’ve found lately that Facebook was taking more away from me than it was giving, and I just couldn’t deal with it anymore.

I don’t think this will be a permanent break up. After all, Facebook is a great tool to keep in touch with people. However, it shouldn’t be the only way I keep in touch. It’s been interrupting my creativity as well– I find that I spend more time being jealous of people I know who are writing and talking about it on Facebook than writing myself.

I think this break will be good for us. Really. I need to remember how I used to function before Facebook came along, and I need to find a new way to make connections. I also need to get control of my apparently very addictive personality…

So, this is it. For now. Facebook and I have parted ways, and in time, I hope that we can become good friends.

Now, I just have to stop thinking in status updates. And stop thinking about what kind of inane caption I could apply to a picture I want to take.

I can live without Facebook. Really. I think…