Getting Started


Yesterday, my friend Aijaz tweeted that he was accepting Jaimee Newberry's challenge to write a blog post daily for a month.

Jaimee's been doing these "30/31 days" projects where she chooses a theme for the month. One month she commits to posting a video every day. Another month she writes a blog post every day. She doesn't really care which medium you choose. Draw a sketch each day. Take a picture that captures the theme. The only rule is that every day you post something.

This month Jaimee is posting tips for speakers. Her challenge is that we pick a theme and post something. With prodding from Jaimee, Aijaz, and Brad Heinz, I plan to play along and post daily tips on writing.

The first tip is get started writing.

Getting started is not the first thing you do, but it may be the hardest thing you do.

You may think that getting started is coming up with an idea, picturing the cover art for your book, imagining reviews from critics, or thinking about who will play you in the movie version.

The hard moment is when you've done all of the thinking you need to do before you start to write and now you decide to get your first words down. We used to talk about putting pen to ink, but these days you probably open a text editor and create a new file.

Now what?

Write something.

But where should I start? Maybe I need to do more planning.

You don't. Write something.

I tried but it's just no good. It's all coming out wrong.

That's ok. Write something. Write quickly. Write as fast as you can. You still won't be writing as quickly as your readers will read. Try to fly along at the same speed they will. Chase after it. Lose yourself. Write anything.

Now you aren't staring at a blank page. You've written something. You've started. You're a writer. We can fix what you've written but now you've gotten started. You've done something that many would-be writers never do.

Next, we'll talk about how you keep writing. It may be the hardest thing you do.