So, now you have to write.
And this is when it gets hard for people. I don’t think it is the task of writing itself. We’ve been writing papers since grade five. We write email every day. In the course of your career, short or long, you’ve written resumes, proposals, memos, training, documentation, and reports.
Still, we get in our own way. We suddenly inflate the importance of the words. Or we balk when given a blank sheet of paper and the opportunity to share what we know to be true. And truth can be the little ‘t’ kind, like a list of tips to help someone get started right away. Truth can also be the capital ‘T’ kind, that we feel all the way down in our bones. It’s that latter kind that scares us the most.
I have never met an author who wasn’t affected by the book they wrote. How can you not be? Writing can surprise us—what we are willing to say with our words and between the lines. You are exposing what you believe on the printed page, without any opportunity to respond. It’s daunting and scary.
What matters most is the words on the page. As John McPhee says, “The writing starts once the words are on the page.” Don’t let expectations about craft and commas slow you down. You can read Strunk & White later. There will be plenty of editors and readers that can help you stay on track. Find some ways to keep yourself on track, whether time blocking your writing sessions or creating milestones that push you to stay with your writing.
- Subscribe to David Moldawer’s newsletter Maven Game. He’ll help you get more mental clutter out of the way of your writing.
- Remember the frame. Remember the throughline. Keep in mind the promise you want to make to the reader and write to that better future.
- Create a word count tracker. All you need is a spreadsheet with three columns—date, words you wrote that day, and a running total of all the words you wrote. This was the single best tactic I use to deliver words every day when I am working on a book project.