That title could refer to a couple different concepts related to writing improvement, and I want to talk about them both. The first is the importance of momentum when it comes to writing—and this applies to all writing, not just narrative fiction. If you’re anything like me, then your passion projects spend more time than they should on the back burner. Let’s face it, writing is work. It can be tedious and it’s rarely easy. If you’re just starting out, you’re probably also not reaping any tangible rewards for your efforts. Those are just a couple reasons why just the thought of getting to work on your writing immediately sends your mind reeling for any reason not to do it. This is why life’s little distractions are suddenly effective reasons why you shouldn’t sit down and put words to page, but I’ll tell you the one surefire way to beat the little voice in your head that says, “You have other things to take care of.”
Start writing. Just start.
From my experience, writing and productivity in general is a mindset. As long as your mind is still in the frame of completing chores or scrolling through a feed it will resist any changes to that frame of mind. Though it is often dismissed as the vice of the lazy and unmotivated, psychologist Tim Phycyl stated in an interview with VOX that, “Psychologists see procrastination as a misplaced coping mechanism.” We tend to procrastinate when the task ahead of us has a high threat of harm, like a weighted test, a make-or-break marketing pitch, or a public creative endeavor. This very blog post should have been done last week, and let me tell you, it never gets any easier to get started.
The good news is… this works both ways.
Changing gears to writing can be challenging, especially if you’re facing the limitless abyss of the blank page. It can take a little force and a little finesse, but, from my experience, once you’re there, it can be just as hard to get out of it. Writing can be addicting, that’s why the title of this site references opioids. I have spent long months unable to write a single word, but once I finally started, I couldn’t stop. I’ve had the exact opposite problem. I’ve been writing when I should have been getting ready for my day job. I’ve forgotten I was cooking something. I’ve ignored the great outdoors.
So, what are you waiting for? You had time to read this blog post, so you probably have time to jot down that first sentence. As a writer, you constantly have ideas swirling around in your mind. Maybe your first idea won’t be the one that makes it to the final stage of creation, but just running with it can put you in the mindset of writing and productivity.
Do us both a favor, write.
You might find crafting a story for one of Prose Opiate’s writing contests a daunting task; actually submitting that writing might be even worse, but if you just get started, you will find it easier to keep going. Keep writing. Keep competing. Keep trying to get your work and your name out there. If you win, your success can be displayed for all to see, and if you don’t win, no one besides the editor ever has to see what you wrote. But you will have started, and the next piece you write will be better, the one after that, even more so, and one day you can be as great a writer as you were always meant to be.