Get the Words on the Page

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my own writing process is that there’s no substitute for simply sitting down and writing. Researching the market isn’t going to get words on the page. Reading about other people’s writing isn’t going to get words on the page (though I do hope this short piece helps!). Checking out feeds on facebook certainly isn’t going to get words on the page.

 

We humans have an innate reluctance to strive to achieve our goals. Too often we are afraid to fail, and thereby fail despite ourselves.

 

I have no issue admitting that I love The Biggest Loser. It’s never just about the weight; there’s always a deep-seated issue that has, in the past, prevented a contestant from feeling worthy of his or her own success. Once the contestants find confidence in themselves—once they can accept that failure is part of the process, but never the final destination—they turn themselves around mentally, emotionally, and, of course, physically.

 

Too often I experience a similar fear when it comes to my writing. I can think and think and think about what I’ll accomplish in my next writing session, but once the computer is in front of me, I freeze. What if the logistics of my plot don’t make sense? Am I putting too much of myself into my characters? What if my protagonist doesn’t resonate emotionally?

 

If I don’t get the words on the page, I certainly won’t fail in any of those regards. But neither will I give myself the chance to succeed in these or any other aspects of my work.

 

Back in the day, when visiting colleges to decide where to apply, I attended an information session for an Ivy League school. “Is there any guarantee that you will be accepted to this school?” the counselor asked. “No. But if you don’t apply, you can guarantee that you won’t.”

 

I did apply. I didn’t get in. I’m okay with that.

 

It is the same with writing: harbor the fear of failure, and you most certainly will not succeed. Give yourself a chance, and you might surprise yourself.

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