Writer’s Diary #7: On Starting

How do you start writing each day? Getting started is often the hardest part—whether it is a book, chapter, article, section, paragraph or project. Procrastination can take as much time as the task itself. This is especially true with a writing project.

There is no magic bullet, but I remember learning a lot from reading and rereading Dorothea Brande’s [Becoming a Writer (1934)] (https://www.amazon.ca/Becoming-Writer-Dorothea-Brande/dp/9389157196/ref=sr_1_2? crid=1QMUBDD68ZTEB&keywords=dorothea+brandt+becoming+a+writer&qid=1687262706&sprefix=dorothea+brandt+becoming+a+writer%252Caps%252C137&sr=8- 2&_encoding=UTF8&tag=danieltubb-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=70052a0d7f212c7c23ef20d57c7a06d1&camp=15121&creative=330641). Although it was written in the 1930s, its advice is often timeless.

One is to set aside time to write, and make a commitment to write at that time. It’s a method of being able to sit down and work on a schedule. At times, especially getting going, I’ve found this advice useful. But now I am more convinced that the trick is to write when you sit down to write, and then to make sitting down a habit. A routine. It takes commitment to get back on the page, but it’s a commitment to cultivate the habit of sitting and, as Brande suggests, to write when you set out to write.

This advice is less about scheduling—which, frankly, does not work for me unless other people are involved—and more about the commitment to do the work when the time comes to do the work.

That’s it. Write when it’s time to write and don’t write when it’s not.