Please do yourself a favor and take yourself to https://writershour.com/ right now. Go ahead and take a peek...I'll wait.
For almost two weeks, I've been attending these daily Zoom "salons" where between 50 and 75 writers join up for a collective hour-long writing session. There are three sessions every day, and you can choose the time that works best for you. The Writer's Hour has significantly improved my writing life, and I wanted to share the "secret" of it with you all.
The secret is this: you have to show up, sit down, log on, say "hello," and write.
This, my friends, is the only secret to writing. You just have to do it. Whether with keyboard, pen, pencil, marker, invisible ink... the only way you're going to get words on a page is by putting them there. Look, they don't even have to be good! I would know. 😉
The basis of The Writer's Hour is the rule that Neil Gaiman follows when writing. He says, “You can sit here and write or you can sit here and do nothing, but you can't sit here and do anything else.”
So far, I've edited a few of my picture book manuscripts, written outlines to several short stories for a project I've been commissioned for, drafted a manuscript for a book series I'm writing, and done this blog post...all in a week and a half! You really can just sit there and write anything you want (or do nothing). Most people share what they plan to work on that hour, from novels to poems to articles to grant proposals to journal entries. The group chat column is fascinating!
The hour also starts with a quote, and today's was particularly butt-kicking: "If you’re waiting for the green light, the go-ahead, the reassuring wand to tap on your shoulder and anoint you as a writer, you’d better pull out your thermos and folding chair because you’re going to be waiting for a good long while. Accountants go to business school and when they graduate with their degrees, they don’t ask themselves whether they have permission to do people’s taxes. Lawyers pass the bar, medical students become doctors, academics become professors, all without considering whether or not they have the right to be going to work. But nothing and no one gives us permission to wake up and sit at home staring at our computer screen while everybody else sets their alarm clocks, puts on reasonable attire, and boards the train. No one is counting on us, or waiting for whatever we produce.' - Dani Shapiro in Still Writing
I usually attend the 8 - 9 am ET session, even though I'm near London, because it works best for my schedule and possibly also because I'm a New Yorker.
So, will you join me?