John Coyne and I talked about starting this blog back in June of 2009. Are you wondering what took me so long to get started? The reason is closely related to what this blog is about: writing and all the challenges we face when we engage as writers.

When I say “writers” I am not trying to speak to a community of self-proclaimed authors, although I am also speaking to them. But we are all writers in one form or another. We all need to express ourselves with words and often, especially in this day and age, that expression is taking place in a written format.

I certainly can say from my own experience that procrastination is writing’s enemy. Even for the most dedicated writer, getting the pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) can be extremely difficult. The urge to complete everything on my to-do list prior to sitting down to write is a major obstacle. Luckily, because writing is my trade and if I don’t write I don’t get paid, I have developed tricks to overcome the tendency to procrastinate. I treat writing like an appointment. I schedule my writing time like I would a visit to the doctor or hair salon. I sometimes do postpone but I’m much more likely to get some writing done with this system.
Why do we procrastinate when we write? We often tend to fear something new. A blank page can be the newest and scariest of frontiers for many. My ability to stare down a blank page a little better than the next guy has provided me a niche as a freelance copywriter. It’s not that my clients can’t write. It’s that most of them hate getting started. So they hire me to fill the page with ideas related to their businesses. Once I do that, they see a spark and are able to run with it. Sometimes we do that together. Sometimes they keep going on their own. My job is to support that creative process in whatever capacity I can.

On the flip-side, there are clients who have the words but can’t seem to finish the thought. So they hire me to edit, finesse and, hopefully, find a good conclusion. Which leads me to the other challenge in writing: stopping. Once you get started, you may find yourself reluctant to stop. Solutions: use an egg timer, alarm clock or give yourself a word-count limit. In fact, I see my own count is up.

It’s a good thing this blog is ongoing because, it seems, I’m just getting warmed up.