To my fellow writers, no matter your medium, how do you overcome the dread and start writing?

Do you always start with a coffee/tea, have to be sat in the same seat, or skip the fear of having to be perfect with a brain-dump doc...

Replies24

  • There are SO MANY tips out there. Like, don't always write on the same thing, like a laptop or PC. Try a notebook, a different location, write a different thing. If you're stuck on a thing, write something else, something small. Get your brain going. A good tip is to have a VERY TINY notebook with you out and about at all times. As a thought comes to you write it down. You can do this on your phone, but the act of writing something down cements it in your memory in a better way.
  • @Ross McClure Thanks for the kind and patient guidance! Like you said, sometimes the hardest part is getting up and putting your trainers on - or in my case - picking up a pen.
  • Very true, @Matt Percival. And I guess that's the attitude I apply to my day job. But I've had an idea for a story in my head for a while now, so I've finally decided to put pen to paper... but you're right, the same thought process still applies.

    Thanks for sharing your process with me, greatly appreciated!
  • @Scott Morrison Thanks for the kind and inspiring words. You're right, some days it's just about 'showing up'!
  • @Alexandra (Lex) Hearth Definitely agree consistency is key. First time I'm writing something for me, as opposed to client work, so it's a whole new type of 'dread' I haven't dealt with before!
  • Ah @Vikki Ross, thank you so much for sharing these gems - you're always so incedibly inspiring. I've honestly never thought about changing up my scene depending on the tone of the piece - going to be trying that this week.

    I'm trying to write a short story, something just for me. But I've been trying to tackle it like a client piece, which as you can tell from my question hasn't been going well...

    Thanks for your words of wisdom!

  • @Esin Huseyin it really depends! If I'm writing for myself personally then it has to be pen and paper. If it's for work then it'll be a laptop
  • I struggle with the dread too but I find that just like exercise (for me this is running), the hardest part is starting. Once I am moving or typing, I find that it comes much more naturally than my brain wants me to remember it as.

    Once you've stopped being scared of that first step, it's then a case of doing it consistantly, rain or shine, whether you're inspired or not and whether the writing (or running!) is any good :)
  • Hi @Esin Huseyin Some great answers below, much that crosses over, but I love @Rob Wright's at the beginning of the feed – fear is so often symptomatic of a lack of conviction in or understanding of your topic, and the unrealistic self-imposed expectation to 'nail it' first time. I simply test a story or idea again and again until I 'own' it. First in my head, sometimes I'll dictate it and play it back, then write a synopsis as many times or ways as it takes to feel narrative or tone emerge. Never expect greatness straight away, even if what you come back to you is the first thing you wrote.
  • I know the feeling!

    I simply write. Anything. Doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not. The fact I am writing means that I’m exercising the mind and practising.

    Do that for 30 minutes a day before you do anything else and see what happens.

    Stay Boom!

  • Hey Esin, environment definitely impacts me - and I usually have a coffee. But as long as I'm comfy and warm I don't really get the dread anymore - I think discipline and immediacy of action ie just getting the words out is something I've got much faster at just by consistently doing it, Alexandra x
  • It depends.

    Sometimes I have to sit where I know will work with the tone I need to write in i.e. on the couch for something easy / at my desk for something really formal.

    If where I am isn't an issue, then I just start writing. Not copy, just writing. I write a paragraph to myself outlining what I need to do and what I need to say. This is then a brief to myself. Or it becomes the thing I write straight that I then make great.

    And/or I write a list of what I need to say and then re-order it to show the hierarchy of messaging. Then I can write and tick each requirement off the list as I go.

    If I've really got nothing, I go for a walk. It's amazing how quickly a starter can come to mind with a change of scenery. Or even overhearing passers by talking - they could say a word that sparks an idea or gives me a word I was looking for.

    Happy writing!
  • @Jide Eguakun hard agree! Sometimes got to know when not to seek feedback, as sometimes too many povs can ruin the essence of your ide!
  • @Nabihah Parkar that sounds so cosy! Do you write by hand or on a laptop? I feel like I can get through to the heart of my piece when it’s just me, a pen and a notebook.
  • @Rob Wright you’re so right. I try to start with a “rough” document where I dump stuff in so I don’t feel as much of the pressure or dread. But totally agree that mindset is everything.
  • Ask someone for notes and demand they give you the harshest critique, it will make edit and new ideas will form from their feedback.
  • Try to focus on the reasons you are creating that piece of work, maybe it's the personal story of someone, maybe you feel this article has never been done before, or maybe you just are in need of that type of experience to further your career. Once you're set on why you're doing it, find the perfect spot and setting (I'm an on-the-floor writer with cosy cushions around me) and go for it! :)
  • Self awareness is fundamental for a writer, Erin. So I'd probably look to get the dread out of the way first.

    “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less…” Marie Curie

    If you can figure out what it is you're feeling & why, then you're probably going to make your life as a writer so much more enjoyable, & inevitably your art so much more powerful…

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