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Write Your First Draft - Without Delay
Writers procrastinate. It’s a fact
of life, often a conditioned reflex to the very thought of sitting down
to create something new.
How do you find
the motivation to write? Let’s look at the standard advice, and
see what’s wrong with it.
some poor literary types, we should place posterior on seat and sweat
out words. I’ve even heard writing referred to as bleeding on to
the page, a nasty image that implies pain and suffering.
Which authors in
their right mind would want to feel this way about their writing?
Does a surgeon
agonize over every incision? Does a bus driver experience angst at
every turn? Does a builder feel despair and foreboding with each new
brick in the wall?
Of course not.
absurd to assume that a vocation causes anxiety to a professional.
Why is it only
writers who associate discomfort and unhappiness at the thought of
The truth is
they don’t. Not professional writers anyway. Most of the myths
about art being hard work come from struggling artists that
haven’t yet mastered their craft, who are still struggling with
their primary tools: their mindset and their motivation.
that, I recently read that apparently eighty-three percent of Americans
think of their day job as stressful.
would be: then why do it?
Perhaps we feel
guilty if our job isn’t stressful in some way. Perhaps we feel
that we can’t possibly choose a career that could be fun and easy
for us. That we have to feel stressed by writing in order to justify it
as an alternative way of making a living?
Because, if you
chose a career that was fun and rewarding, perhaps nobody would believe
you were actually working. And then you wouldn’t feel right
getting paid for it.
Interestingly, the majority of the other seventeen percent of the US
workers were comprised of high-flying CEOs and the self-employed.
then that having a degree of control over your own work day is the
number one factor when it comes to job fulfillment. And being a
self-employed writer is all about being in control of your own work
So, it's true,
all we have to do is sit down and write.
In a sense this is all
there is to it. However, I know from many thousands of emails
I’ve received over the years that it’s not quite as this
simple. In fact I have dedicated a large part of my life to working out
why it’s not that simple!
investigations into this problem, I have been forced to unlearn many of
the illusions I held about writers: what they’re like, how they
think and how they behave. I’d like to pass on one of these
observations in order to help you.
First of all,
it’s important that you don’t believe the hype.
There’s a conspiracy amongst literary types who want us to
believe that writing is some kind of noble and specialist pursuit that
only the truly talented can and should indulge in.
Trouble is, we buy into this fantasy, no matter how ridiculous the idea
is in reality.
The fact is anybody can be a successful writer. The majority of
professional writers, even those bestselling authors, are just normal
people with no great talent – just an acquired skill that they
have perfected over time.
I’ve met hundreds of writers and I’m yet to find a true
genius among them.
writers that have good work ethics, who are productive and successful.
But I’ve yet to meet writers that fit anything like the mold
ascribed to them by certain critics and biographers. Most of what it
means to be a real writer is a myth, one we have to break down in order
to proceed with confidence. Successful writers are generally not
different, better, more talented than us. They’re really not.
It’s a silly illusion. Many of the best writers around today
simply have access to better editors than ourselves.
Try this little exercise.
Imagine your favorite author before he or she was famous.
In all likelihood they were just like you, with thought patterns and
agendas much like your own.
Certainly they had the same problems you face: lack of sufficient
money, a small or non-existent fan base, trouble being taken seriously
by agents and publishers, a dearth of serious writing time, slow book
sales, and a myriad of other concerns that might plague you on a daily
The big difference comes when you write a book that resonates with the
public. That’s all. One book that sells well can change
everything: your financial status, your ability to carve out your own
destiny and to finally feel justified in taking all the time you need
to write your next book.
So why not imagine that you are writing that one book right now?
All you need now is the first draft, which you can write quickly and
easily if you read my books.
Besides, your first draft isn’t going to be the final product.
But it will be the basis for the final product. It’s important
you get through the first draft so that you have something solid to
It’s crucial that you believe in yourself and in what you have to
say, or that the story you want to tell is important, meaningful,
worthy of other’s attention.
Motivation is not about making yourself write per se, it’s about
wanting to be read.
It’s about needing to write a book that people will want to buy,
because you believe it will benefit their lives when they do.
where true motivation comes from: the desire to change the world, even
just a little, for the better, through your writing.
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Writing Style and
Too Old to
Writers Guide to
Science of Easy
You Got The Power
Culture of Positivity
Be Your Own Mentor
Your Own World
It Simple, Stupid!
Writers Block - Forever
Truth is Out There
Up and Be Counted
From Where You Started
at the Pit Face
the Way You Look at Things
Show Don't Tell
What Do You Want To
Moments of Clarity
Tame Your Creativity
Writing Down The Bones
Give Away Your
Motivation and Writing
What to Do With
Writing is all in the
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2014 Rob Parnell. All Rights Reserved.