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?


My crazy manifests itself in obsession over fictional characters.

Dear Dr. Mike:

I’d tell you that I love you, but you already know that. You’ve known that since I was 14. I’m pretty sure you inspired me to record Days every day starting in junior high… I just couldn’t stand to miss a second of you onscreen. I put up with all the other storylines (although if I remember correctly, they had some pretty good ones going then) just so I could see you. Those blue eyes broke my heart and made me smile all at the same time.

My true love

Just look at those eyes...

As much as I loved you, I always wanted you to be with Carrie. It was obvious that you wouldn’t be happy with anyone but her. Above all else, I wanted you to be happy. I didn’t want to see that indescribable look in your eyes that came every time she let you down. You never pressured her to leave Austin, though. You just weren’t that kind of guy, and I loved that about you.

I remember tearing up whenever you were upset. To me, that’s always been the telltale sign that I’m in love. You hurt, I cry. I thought that if I could just be there for you, be the friend who was always waiting for you in the shadows, I could somehow steal your heart from her. We’ll never know what might have been…

I vowed never to watch Days again when you left. What was the point? Sure, there was Eric Brady, but he just wasn’t you. The show kept me sucked in, though, and I was watching this summer when you came back for a few episodes. I know you’re busy with the new TV show now, but maybe if that comes to an end you could come back to Days. Or maybe you could just be on every now and then… after all, Jen needs her brother right now. And I need a reason to start watching again.

I just can’t let go of you. I still recall the scene in that barn after you and Carrie were in an accident… you took care of her and spilled your heart out to her, and she didn’t hear any of it. I wished you had been talking to me.

I don’t deny that my love for you classifies me as crazy. Hell, I’ve held a flame for a fictional character for over 10 years. I just can’t get over you. When I finally finish Finding Home and make it into a movie, you’re going to be my first choice to play Johnny.

I’ll always love you, Mike. No matter what.

P.S. My husband is fully aware that I would leave him for you. Just so you know.