Writing isn’t about head or heart; it’s about your butt

Writing is about getting your ass in a seat day after day and pounding on the  keyboard.

Every day, I hate getting started writing. I’d always rather surf reddit. But every morning, I force myself to write for exactly five minutes. That’s all I make myself do: five minutes. But, and this always happens, after five minutes I’m into a groove, and coming up with 500 words isn’t the impossible task it seemed five minutes ago. Soon, I’m enjoying myself, I’m in the character’s heads and I’m trying to get them into more trouble.   But that first five minutes can be a pain. That’s when I think lofty, writerish thoughts like:

  • “I have no idea what to do next.”
  • “This plot makes no sense whatsoever.”
  • “Why is this character even here?”
  • “I’m a 43-year-old man writing about fairies. Hm.”
  • “That’s it. I’m out of ideas. All gone. Forever.”

Then I try to remember the great Jack London quote:

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

So I sit down and bang my head against the keyboard until something happens. Usually, something does. But even if it doesn’t, I come back the next day and do it again. Yes, use your head to come up with wonderful ideas. Yes, use your heart to feel for your characters, all of them. But without your butt in a seat, nothing gets written.

4 thoughts on “Writing isn’t about head or heart; it’s about your butt

  1. Major laugh at the 43 year old fairy writer comment. Hm indeed. Don’t listen to that voice. I loved reading Nyx and it ranked as one of the only 50% of books I finished this year, including both trad and indie published. Also, thanks for the reminder that my butt could use a workout.

  2. I love the Jack London quote. I usually don’t get truly inspired until about 5 minutes before my scheduled quitting time. Then I usually have enough of a head of steam that I can get in more paragraphs on sheer momentum.

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