Writer's Block,  Writing Life

How to Sit Down and Write

“Hey Lizard. I have so many ideas. I get inspiration from practically everything, but I can’t seem to write anything. I have this idea that I really want to write, but I don’t have the motivation to actively sit down and write it all out. Any tips to finally getting that very much needed motivation?”

This is one of those age-old questions. When I’m talking to other writers about craft, this is one of the inevitable questions that comes up. How do you just sit down and write? It sounds like it should be so easy but even when you have time to write, how do you just go to your desktop and start writing something? It’s not easy.

I know so many writers who open a blank page and just stare at it for a really long time. I have been that writer. I avoid being that writer. Sometimes I won’t even open that page until I have an idea in mind, but that might mean I’m putting off writing and “waiting for the muse” which is really not a great strategy either.

There isn’t just one solution. But there’s a few things that can help no matter what you’re working on. So, here we go:

Walk the dog.

I am saying “walk the dog,” but it could be any chore that doesn’t take a lot of mental energy. It could be “unload the dishwasher” or “fold the laundry” but do something like this before you sit down to write. Use this time to think about what you’re writing. Mentally plan it out. Think ahead, so when you finally can have a moment to start writing, you can get right to it.

Journal it out.

This helps some people but not everyone. Keep a writing journal. Write out your thoughts about the project your working on and reflect on your process. I need to think on a page so I keep a journal to try out different threads for what scenes can come next. It helps me keep my thoughts organized and propels me forward with my projects. This is one way to do it.

Free write.

Free-writing is another favorite. I know a lot of people who love to do this and it’s not dissimilar to the kind of thing I write in my journals. It’s writing, though it can be fiction and just sort of running with it. No stress, no pressure just words on the page. Write whatever is on your mind and just keep going. Some people do this for ten or twenty minutes before getting into their story.

Read what you’ve already written.

I do this anyway because my memory is terrible. Before you just start writing, read what you wrote in your last writing session. This way you’re back in the swing of things, reliving the moment you were last in so that you can keep going.

Outline, outline, outline.

If you’re stuck, sometimes (and I hate this too) it’s because you need to know what happens next. I was just recently told, I need to get better about outlining my projects. Outlining help you write tighter scenes, heighten conflicts in them, and make the process of writing a little bit quicker. Drafting and redrafting take less work as a result. I don’t love outlines, but they definitely improve my writing. Sometimes taking time to write an outline will make a difference and at the very least will allow you to come to the page with a plan.

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