With all the memes out there about how HARD writing is, I think we tend to get the wrong idea about our work.
Sure, it can be hard to get started and it can be hard to work on certain aspects of our projects (particularly if it has challenging emotional content) but we don’t have to make it any harder than it is.
You don’t have anything to prove. Your writing doesn’t have to be hard to be worthwhile.
In fact, sometimes, taking the easy way out is the best approach to getting your writing done. Especially in the first draft.
There will be a time for working on the hard parts. You will need to face your writing challenges and sharpen your skills at some point.
But you don’t need to do that EVERY time you write.
Here are a few ideas for taking the easy way so you can get this draft done.
Skimp on the specifics
Don’t know the answer to a specific issue? Not sure how your villain is going to make her escape? That’s totally fine. Take the easy way.
Type ‘she escapes mysteriously’ in all caps so you will see it when you revise. Then move on to the next section.
Write the parts you like first, in the way you like to write them
Do you rock your dialogue but you struggle with describing the room the conversation takes place in?
Write your description in dialogue and move on to the next bit.
Or, if you find dialogue challenging, then, for now, just write ‘He says something about liking hamburgers and he mentions his allergy to ketchup.’ Mark it in someway so you see it when you revise. (Maybe put KETCHUP in all caps?)
Then continue with the parts you find easy.
Leave stuff out
Sometimes, I know I need a scene that reveals a certain fact but I can’t quite figure out what that scene should be right now.
Rather than spinning my wheels about that one section of my work, I put in a note that reads something like ‘a scene at the front door.’
Then, I skip past that and write a different part of my story.
But I will have to do the hard part eventually, right?
Yes, sooner or later the day of reckoning is going to come. You will have to do the hard part, eventually.
But I truly think you are better off writing in any way you can right now and dealing with the hard parts bit by bit.
If you have the bones of your story in place, then the hard parts won’t feel so hard.
Instead of getting stuck on the one thing you can’t do, you will have forged ahead with all kinds of things that you CAN do.
Focusing on what you can write builds your confidence and lets you develop your writing skills for dealing with the hard parts.
Keep your eye on the prize
Building your skills to share your stories is what this whole thing is about, right?
If you get stuck on the hard part, your stories will never make it into the world.
So, go ahead and take the easy way out for now.
We’ll get to the hard bits when we are better prepared for them.