This is one of my favorite quotes on writing. Because that’s exactly how it is. At times, you find yourself staring at a blank screen, or a blank leaf of paper, and it just stares back you in a menacing sort of fashion. Other times, you find yourself madly, furiously writing without pause, the ideas relentlessly flowing into your mind. Some days it doesn’t quite seem fair, does it?
Here is the key: just write.
Write without worrying if it’s good. Write without wondering what a reader might think. Worry about that later. You can always go back and make revisions.
Make writing a habit. Just write something at least once a day, every day. Find things that inspire you. Music is a big inspiration for me, although I find instrumental music easier to write to (lyrics tend to interrupt my thought process). Find an image online that sparks your imagination. Look up writing prompts. Have an older piece that you could never quite finish? Dredge it up, take the main idea behind it, and rewrite it. Just get that pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard!
One of our biggest problems as writers is that we are our own biggest critics. How many times have you written something, only to read it over and think: “Wow, this is crap.” I can tell you that I do it constantly. But try this: instead of deleting it (or crumpling up and throwing away that piece of paper), save it. Make a separate folder for old or rough drafts. But don’t delete anything! One day you’ll look back on those old files with a smile and you’ll say, “I’m amazed at how far I’ve come.”
When it comes to first drafts, Ernest Hemingway said it best: “The first draft of anything is shit.”
Here’s the thing, though… You are so much better than you think. So again, just keep writing. Don’t torture yourself over which word you think works best, or how many adverbs you’re using. It’s only a first draft. In all reality, it’s probably not as bad as you think.
I’ll say it once more: get those fingers to your keyboard!