1. Great advice as usual, Pamie, and I’ll be looking forward to next July.

    There’s no wrong way write: just keep getting those words out. I had a roommate who wrote his Ph.D. thesis by deciding that it was going to be 128 pages long with eight chapters each of which would be 16 pages and so on. He top-downed the entire project.

  2. Erin

    This is great, Pamie. I don’t have any interest in writing a novel, but this advice is so spot-on for PhD candidates working on a dissertation (ahem…like me…) that it’s downright spooky. Each paragraph, I thought, “YES! That is exactly what it’s like!!!”

    Believe me, I’m going to be forwarding this link to every dissertating grad student I know.

    • pamie

      Thank you!

      This advice probably goes for starting just about any project that you hope becomes bigger than you in the end. Good luck with your dissertation! That thing sounds scary.

  3. Jessica

    I’m not a writer by any means…but yes, it’s all about the shower! If it wasn’t for the shower I would never solve any of my problems.

  4. Lisa D

    Pamie… what you wrote was beautiful and inspiring! I have been talking about writing a novel for so long, but have a motivation problem. Even though I love writing and creating, the task seems so overwhelming. I like what you said about writing the book that i want to read. It is so simple, yet brilliant! It makes perfect sense. I hope the advice you have shared here is the kick in the pants i’ve needed. Thank you :)

  5. THANK YOU for this post. I really needed to read these words today, because I’m feeling like Don Music from Sesame Street (remember him? The guy who would bash his head on the piano when he got stuck in a song? Yeah, that guy. Except his hair is better than mine).

    It’s not that I’m stuck, it’s that the whole story thing wants to climb out of my head at once and I can only type SO FAST. 80 words per minute is nothing to sneeze at, but damn. I have too much to say so I find I can’t say anything at all except “Note: put in the blahblahblahthingy here later about the thing with the stuff and that guy who did that thing [Remember July 1989 and that Smiths song] etc.”

    I was thisclose to deleting The Thing and going back to being a slacker/knitter, but in my procrastination hour I wandered over here and found this post. And I will keep going.

  6. Colin

    “First drafts are there to get the structure down, some furniture. Don’t worry about where you’re putting the throw pillows. Company isn’t coming for a long time.”

    …This is one of the most lovely writing analogies I’ve ever encountered. Pitch-perfect.

  7. This is fabulous, Pam – just what I needed to read. I keep stopping and starting with story ideas: I have commitment issues when it comes to writing fiction. I tried NaNoWriMo this year (and last year) and failed because November always seems to be crazy-busy for me (buying and moving into a new house this year, for example), but I like the philosophy of just forging ahead and worrying about quality control afterwards. I really need to do that!

  8. Jessi

    I’ve spent what seems like years starting to write, and then stopping, and then ending up with pages and pages of half-finished stories that I never manage to pick back up. I’m just now starting to write seriously again after not writing at all for a long, long time… This was exactly what I needed to read right now. I’m printing this out and tacking it to the wall to re-read next time I get stuck. Thank you SO much for this!

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