What is the hardest thing about writing?

What’s the most difficult part of writing?

Actually doing it.

Some time ago, a family emergency brought cousins, aunts, and uncles to town for a mix of stress and a makeshift family reunion. Writing was the last thing I wanted to work on, but the further I got away from creating the worse I felt. My thought on repeat was, “I have a lot going on, but can’t I at least write a blog post? My life can’t just stop because I have things going on.” My ‘You’re the Worst’ monologue was on high volume. But that critical self talk wasn’t exactly productive when it came to finding real motivation.

What did help? Sitting down and writing some notes in my journal.

When it comes to writing, the thing I am constantly learning is that the only way to keep writing is to start writing. Sometimes, writing a personal entry in my journal frees me up mentally to brainstorm and that clears out the cobwebs so I can do the writing I wanted to be doing all along.

It’s really easy to tell myself that some writing “counts” and other writing doesn’t. But telling myself that writing an email or journalling about a stressful day doesn’t count doesn’t actually mean I’ll spend any time on the things that supposedly do count. In fact it might mean I spend less time, because I’m using my energy on feeling guilty or dismissive. Instead of guilt, can we all just agree to let all those ancillary forms of writing get the ball rolling?

Writing begets writing. When you do a little, it gets a lot easier to do more. There’s a Newton’s First Law of Motion metaphor in here. An object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest.

There are a lot of things you can’t plan for, we can’t do everything we want, and sometimes we just need a break. But when you want to be writing, you have to start somewhere and nothing jumpstarts writing like a little writing.

Need some practice? Leave a comment about what you’ve been working on, what you’ve been struggling with, or what your favorite kind of tea is these days.

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