The hardest part for me (besides motivating myself to sit still for 5 or 6 hours straight) is to not over-think everything when I write. I want to write it perfectly, carefully, thoughtfully, structure it like I would want to see it in a book. Reality is that I am doing it all wrong. I’m sure that no good writer ever sat there for 20 minutes contemplating what synonym they should use for the word “beautiful” in a sentence. They just wrote it down and fixed it later if they needed to–at least that’s what I think. Perhaps John can say it better than I can (and thanks to him for the inspiration to not waste time perfecting right now).
“Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. [The] rewriting process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material” – John Steinbeck
Everyone always says “just write” and “just read,” and yes, we should be doing these things as writers. But when we are told to write, just write. Seriously. It doesn’t need to be meaningful or thoughtful or even make sense right now. Simply sitting down in front of a computer to let our thoughts flow is enough. As writers, we never think we will be good enough, or are good enough, so every letter we punch on a keyboard seems wrong and incompetent. Who cares–just get it down on paper and fix it later. If you look back on your work a few weeks later and agree that it is “rubbish,” rubbish it. But I promise you that you will find a word, sentence, or maybe even a whole paragraph of brilliance in your own work. It will be one of those moments where the words roll off your tongue effortlessly; where your eyes trace your own words and you think “not so bad,” and you will smile.