Step 0: Make coffee.
Step 1: Figure out what the heck actually happens in the story you haven’t written yet, even though you’re the type of writer who figures out the plot as you write.
ààAfter Step 1 is unsuccessful, find something else useful to do, like clean your room or the kitchen. Sit down to rest, feeling that at least you accomplished something.
ààààThen, it’s Monday and time to go back to work. Work hard all week, then try again with Step 1 the next Saturday—after taking Friday night off to watch Netflix, of course.
Step 1, Take 2: Start writing. When everything sounds cheesy and wrong, send it as an e-mail attachment to your friends, who later confirm that there are numerous problems with the plausibility of the story, just not the same problems you saw.
ààAdd coffee. Start over.
ààààWhen the result is terrible, print it out, because hitting the delete button on a computer just doesn’t provide that satisfying paper-crunching sensation, and you are, after all, a traditionalist. Crumpling wads of paper also reminds you of movie montages in which five minutes of failing and then trying again leads to ultimate success, which is reassuring.
Step 1A: Make cookies. Eat them.
Step 1B: Make a project playlist. Get lost on iTunes...
ààAccidental online shopping detour.
Step 1, Take 3: Start writing again. Fight urge to go all Office Space on work laptop.
ààBaby name website detour. This is okay. You are searching for a new
character name. This counts as work.
ààààAdd coffee. Are there any cookies in the house?
Step 1, Take 4: Write another draft. This one’s got to be it. You can feel it.
ààWrite blog post instead.
Step 1, Take 5: Write another draft. This has to end sometime. Might as well be today.
Send out as an email attachment. There will be more revisions, but for now, you are allowed to watch Netflix without feeling like a failure.
(ààMake more cookies.)