This blog was featured on 02/18/2020
Top 5 Ways to Actually Show Up at the Page
Written by
Alissa Johnson
February 2020
Written by
Alissa Johnson
February 2020

* This post was originally published in August 2018.


I've been working with writers (and writing long enough myself) to know that there are all kinds of hurdles to sitting down to write. You probably don't need me to elaborate. If you've ever struggled to make time, make use of the time you have, or create more space for writing in your life, then you know what I'm talking about.

The truth is, making time to write doesn't have to be that complicated.

And to help you make it easier, I want to share five of my favorite tips to help you sit down and do the one thing that will make you feel better about writing: write.

1. Remember, there are no rules.

We've all heard them, the "rules" of writing. Write everyday. Write first thing in the morning. Treat writing like a job. If these work for you, great. But the only things I do everyday are breathe, eat and sleep. And if I did everything I was supposed to do first thing in the morning, I'd never start my day. The only thing I see writers achieve by trying to follow the rules is a sense of guilt. They're not doing what they think they should be doing! But what if writing isn't about following rules? 

What if it's about experimenting, figuring out what works for you, and then doing that? 

Suddenly, instead of feeling guilty, you can simply write. Letting go of rules that don't work is so key that I've created a workshop, Inside the Writer's Mind, to help you find your own way. Check it out HERE.

2. Keep things simple.

It's one thing to be told that you can write however you want and another to figure out what to do. The best thing to remember? Let your next step be simple, and do the thing that feels easiest or most energizing. All too often, when writers explain their next steps to me, they have a very long list of things to do or a complicated vision. I can tell they're overwhelmed.

When they break their ideas down into small steps, however, they can pick the place where it feels easiest to start.  

You can try it right now. Jot down the things you could do next. Star the one that feels most fun, and give it a whirl.

3. It's not about time.

Yes, it'd be nice if we all had more time. And yes, there are times when work, family or some other thing takes precedence over writing. But in my experience, when writers avoid the page for long periods of time, it's not about the time. There's some other worry at play: knowing where to start, wondering what happens next, or making things more complicated than they need to be.

When you can figure out what's really keeping you from the page, you can find a way to put it in perspective.

And that's when you'll start to make use of the time you have instead of worrying about the time you don't have. 

My new workshop, Inside the Writer's Mind, can help you do just that. I'll be hosting it live this September, and in it, I walk you through three ways to make writing easier. Including how to deal with worries like these!

4. Small bits of time are more than enough.

It's easy to feel like you need to have an hour or two, or even a whole day, to get into your writing. But the writers I know who write the most have learned to take advantage of even the smallest bits of time. I'm talking 10 minutes, 15, maybe 20. That might not sound like much, but it's a powerful practice. First of all, it's hard to procrastinate. You can write anything for 10 minutes. But it also gets you in the habit of writing so that when you have those bigger chunks of time you actually use them.

Most people I know don't go from the couch to running a marathon; why should writing be different?

Maybe now is the time to give it a try. What's one thing you've been thinking about writing? Put 10 minutes on a timer and start.

5. Write about your writing.

So often, when writers think about writing, they think about working on the thing itself. The short story. The novel. The memoir. But sometimes, what you really need to do is sort through your ideas or figure out your next step. Writing about your writing can be a great way to do that. Because somewhere inside of you, you probably know what you need to do next. Write without judgment, for example. Or sign up for a class. Maybe find a writing coach. You're just really well versed at living in a society where we run all our thoughts and ideas through a filter of what's okay and what's not okay.

Writing about your writing cuts through all the chatter and helps you zero in on what's true for you.

Want to give it a try? Writing about your writing is one of the tools in my upcoming workshop, Inside the Writer's Mind. I created it to help you cut through all the shoulds and shouldn'ts and arrive at what's best for you. And it includes some of my favorite prompts to write about your writing. Check it out and I hope you'll join me.

Find this post helpful? Let me what writing rule you're going to let go of in the comments below, or over on Facebook. I always love to hear from you!

P.S. Wish writing could be easier? Learn how it can be with my September workshop, Inside the Writer's Mind. Let me be your guide as you learn how to end the struggle and work with yourself.

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