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Four reasons why writers resist writing

Have you ever put off a project because it seemed overwhelming? You want the end result — a clean, tidy garage with space to park your car. Or an organized closet with all your clothes color coded and shoes lined up side by side.

Or a finished manuscript.

But you’re overwhelmed by the size of the project. Maybe you even started it, but you’re stuck. Sometimes a change of perspective is in order.

My friend Tami and I met for coffee recently at a Borders Cafe.  She mentioned that, “Yes, I need to get back into my book.”

This is how the conversation went next:

“How about now? Let’s write right now.”

“Well, I need to get home before too late, so I can get up early for a meeting tomorrow,” she said.

“We could spend 20 minutes,” I said. “I’ll buy us each a new notebook.”

I got up before she could say anything else and headed over to the notebooks and pens. Tami trailed behind. We each picked out a notebook, and I went to the cashier and paid.

Back at our table in the cafe, we settled on a topic. I set my iPhone timer for 20 minutes.

When the timer went off, we both had written about 250 words. The best part was that even though the prompt seemed random, we both had written pages that fit into our manuscripts. We realized we could create something substantial in a short amount of time that moved our goal forward.

This made me think about reasons why people who really want to write resist it:

1. The words don’t come out on the page like the story you imagine.

Solution: This is actually a common feature of first drafts. That’s what rewriting is for.

2. You don’t know what your characters should do next.

Solution: Ask, “What if?” Just freewrite as many options as you can think of and see what resonates.

3. You don’t know what to write about.

Solution: Consider these big ideas.

4. You have an idea, but don’t know where to start.

Solution: Just start writing scenes. You’ll find a rhythm and voice, and you can figure out the structure later.

What would you end up with at the end of one year, if you simply wrote for 20 minutes a day?

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