Bob Baker's Full-Time Author Blog

The Art of the Start for Writers & Authors

In one way I feel blessed. But that doesn't mean I am off the hook. Not by a long shot.

Let me clarify ...

I have rarely encountered the malady known as "writer's block." If anything, I am usually cursed with having too many potential ideas to write about.

So coming up with the right words to express what I want to communicate has rarely been a problem.

But ...

What I do suffer from is something you might call "starter's block."

In other words, I often have a resistance to starting the writing process. Like when I'm working on a book project, I'll find lots of other things I need to do before working on the chapter at hand.

I'll check email, update Twitter, log into Facebook, eat a snack, make a phone call, see if the snail mail has arrived, rearrange my sock drawer -- anything to deter me. Can you relate?

I usually know what topic I'm going to write about. That's not what stops me. The block comes because I put off starting to write.

When I finally commit and say, "Enough with the distractions! It's time to sit my butt down and type," an interesting thing happens.

At first, I grudgingly write an opening line for the section I need to work on. The sentences get pecked out slowly at first, as I rationally search for word choices that express the idea I want to get across.

These opening lines lead to other ideas that further flesh out the concept. Then some word or phrase triggers an association I hadn't thought of before, and it sends me off on an expected tangent that magically reinforces the message.

Then I'm off and running. That's when I get into an almost cosmic state of flow. The writing then ceases to be a mechanical task and transforms into a heightened state of consciousness as my fingertips race to keep up with the ideas I'm downloading.

This is the fun part of writing. It's at times like these, when I'm fully engaged in capturing the river of ideas, that I remember why I'm blessed to make a living doing this. I feel completely on purpose -- like it's what I'm meant to do.

And I believe you can and should feel the same way when you write!

But here's the key thing to understand about this process:

To reach that magical state of flow, you must START writing before you actually feel that way.

Too many writers wait to feel inspired before they'll even start putting words on paper (or on the screen). That's rarely worked for me.

Most of the time, it only comes when my butt hits the chair and my fingers hit the keyboard.

Learn to master the art of the start. It's the key to getting things done and being a prolific writer and author!



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