One of my favorite pithy sayings about writing is “ass in chair, fingers on keyboard.” It’s short and to the point. Unless you write standing up, or perhaps sitting on a rubber doughnut, it’s pretty standard for a writer to sit in a chair and write. You can’t write while roaming the streets or hurtling off a diving board or driving, or rather you shouldn’t because that could lead to injury.
Side note: If you think texting while driving is bad, I knew someone who used to write while driving. He kept a little notebook on his leg and when he was stuck in traffic, he would scribble down humorous verse.
Back on topic. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? “Ass in chair. Fingers on keyboard.” For me, the hard thing about accomplishing that task is not sitting, but eliminating the things that prevent me from sitting. If I’m trying to sit near a basket of dirty laundry or similar, that visible sign of Things To Do That Are Not Writing can be very distracting. I have to either leave the house, perhaps for a coffee shop where cleanup is not my responsbility, or perhaps mentally schedule that load of laundry for later: after I’ve written for two hours, after I’ve written a thousand words, at 7:00 pm, tomorrow afternoon.
Then comes moving my fingers on the keyboard. I move on to another pithy quote to tell how to accomplish this:
“Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.” –Raymond Chandler
Another version of this quote, which has numerous sources, is “Don’t be afraid to let yourself write shit.” Just because the story isn’t yet perfect doesn’t mean you get out of working until it’s as perfect as it can be. There aren’t any shortcuts to accomplishing this task.
Except, perhaps, ass in chair. Because the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be done.
“I hate writing. I love having written.” –Dorothy Parker