It’s Thursday evening, one day more until the weekend begins.
For some of you, that might mean only one day left to write before a busy weekend of entertaining children or catching up on that very long to-do list. For others, there’s just one more day of work between you and some devoted writing time. Either way, I just wanted to pass on a bit of advice that I’ve heard a lot recently; something to help you make the most of your time: just write.
We’ve all spent time staring at a blank screen or doodling on the edge of a piece of paper because it’s hard to get started, because it’s hard to work out what to say first or because we’re worried that it isn’t very good. The late Douglas Adams understood this issue very well, saying (in my favourite quote of all time) “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by”.
However, there are a few other quotes that I’ve heard recently that I think also ring true. In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King talks about the importance of not sitting and waiting for inspiration but getting straight into working, and writing on even if the work doesn’t seem to be good. Renowned marketing expert Seth Godin talks about writing something every day (and publishing that something, regardless of what you think of it). He says that the good stuff will come, and you’ll get better at the writing and enjoy it more if you just persevere every day. Just begin.
Closer to home, I’ve been speaking to writer and editor Ann Bolch, of A Story to Tell, and she had some really important things to say about the need to just write; to just purge all the story, all the characters, all the thoughts in your head onto paper without even thinking of what’s good or bad, without deleting or crossing out. She says the writing part of the brain can’t work properly if the editing brain is there criticizing and distracting it, and vice versa.
So, if you’re a weekend writer, or if you have one day of the week left before things get chaotic, make the most of your available writing time and just write.
Oh, and Douglas Adams has a bit of clever advice for this, too: