Monday Morass: Beyond the B.I.C.

I’m curious about how others deal with the problem of having trouble getting started. I don’t necessarily mean getting started with a NEW writing project, but getting going in general, when your mind feels sluggish, or the project is frustrating you, or you feel blocked for one reason or another.

Obviously, BUTT IN CHAIR is a basic requirement. B.I.C.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” ― Stephen King

However, that only addresses the physical environment of writing. What about the mental part? What if you don’t know where or how to start when it comes to the actual work itself?

Do you just pick an arbitrary point and just GO? Like, let’s say you know X, Y, and Z need work, but they’re all equally frustrating, so you just decide, “Fine, today I’m working on Y and I’m just going to SIT DOWN AND DO IT DAMMIT.”

Sometimes I use that method. Sometimes, once I start and really dig in and overcome that initial resistance, that fear and perfectionism, then I’m fine.

“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.” — Terry Pratchett

But I can’t get past the idea that I want to muster some sort of enthusiasm, or at least sense of DIRECTION, before I begin, and there are times when that’s very difficult. I feel like I want to find an answer to my writing problems, The Answer, somewhere in a writing how-to book or online on somebody’s blog. Even after years of writing, I want a Magic Answer.

Unfortunately, the only magic answer I’ve found so far is this: That book ain’t gonna write itself.

“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.” — Steven Wright

About the author

Sarah Jamila Stevenson is a writer, artist, editor, graphic designer, professor of humanities, and localization QA tester, so she wears a teetering pile of hats. On any given day, she is very tired. She is the author of the middle grade graphic novel Alexis vs. Summer Vacation, and three YA novels, including the award-winning The Latte Rebellion.


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