Writing doesn’t often come easily for me. I hate staring at a blank computer screen and thinking, I’ve got nothing.
It reminds me of that classic children’s book about the little train that couldn’t make it up a hill. A blank computer screen is my steep hill. Typically, I go through a three-step process whenever I write a new story.
I get a spark of an idea, but I have no idea where to go with it. It’s a confusing mess inside my brain. I wonder if it’s even a story worth telling. Where would I begin? How should it end? The task feels monumental. It’s all uphill from here.
I begin to sort through the mess and create some order. I throw out stuff I don’t need. I hang on to the ideas that have potential. This is also the point at which the annoying voice inside my head starts heckling me. You seriously think this is a good idea? Who’d want to read this?
Around step three is when I notice all the tasks I need to do around my house. Instead of wasting time on a story that may never get published, I should fold laundry. Or make dinner. Or organize my sock drawer. Step three often requires an abundance of chocolate-covered almonds. Eventually I realize it’s time to share my personal feelings with that inner voice of mine. I speak honestly, with all the warmth and affection I can muster.
Then I ask myself, “Do you really want to be a writer?”
Most days I answer, “Yes.”
“Are you willing to put in the time and effort to become that writer?”
Again, I respond “Yes.”
(Warning: this part can be physically challenging and slightly dangerous. Basically, this "little train" kicks herself in the caboose.)
“So, Sheri," I say to myself, "can you ignore that inner critic, face this challenge and start marching up that hill?"
I take a deep breath and say a quick prayer. “Why yes. I surely think I can.”