The Hard Truth

Have you always been a writer?  Make plans every January 1 to spend the summer writing the “Great American Novel?”  Do you have a great idea(s), passion for writing, and yet… haven’t started and/or finished your novel?

How?  How does someone channel passion and desire for writing into actually doing it?  The solution is so simple, so basic, you might not believe it, but it’s true.  Are you ready for it?  Really?

The answer to your writers block and/or lack of writing: showing up.  If you want to write, all you have to do is do it. 

I know what you’re thinking, “Why am I reading this trite advice? It’s ridiculous to tell someone all they need to do to accomplish something is to do it.  The question is, how?”

I told you the answer to your question is simple, and it really is.  What you need to do is carve out time, regularly, and show up.  You sit down at your computer, or pen and paper if you’re old school, and be aware this is your writing time.

Once I’ve “shown up” for my designated writing session, the first step for me is usually checking email, then Facebook, then Twitter, and a few other sites I check, then back to Facebook, then blank stares into space.  And then, when I get the courage and my mind settles down, I open the document I’m working on.

Some days I never write on my manuscript, and that’s okay.  The important, crucial part, is the showing up.  Because I can trust I will continue with the showing up, I can give myself a break.  Some days I write 2,000+ words, some days I’m in the red.

I know there are loads of legitimate ways to write, but I guarantee you will make progress on your writing ambitions if you work-in regular writing opportunities into your week, making it a habit.

I teach at a university and have a flexible work schedule.  This past year I taught my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I took my five-year-old to his half-day school and went to a coffee shop to write for those three hours. 

Almost every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this past academic year I showed up to write.  Some days I’d have to grade, or work on lectures.  Some days the world was terrible and I felt horrible, and all I really wanted was to pull the covers over my head.  Some days I never opened the manuscript I was working on.

One factor that helped me with my ‘showing up’ is that I didn’t do it alone.  My writing friend, Lisa, made the same commitment.  She wasn’t dropping a kid off, but she got dressed and came into town and sat alongside me, trying to write.

We both have bad, difficult, uninspired writing days. But those times come and go. 

I habituated myself to show up.  When you show up enough, you’ll be surprised how much writing actually gets done!

(It took me 1 hour and 34 minutes this morning until I settled down to write.  And yet, if I didn’t set this time aside, I would’ve written zip.)

Born and raised in Bakersfield, California, Merry Brown now lives in the northwest corner of Tennessee with her husband, three boys, and Daisy the cat. She teaches philosophy at the University of Tennessee, Martin, where she counts it a great privilege and joy to introduce students to perennial questions about the nature of the universe, meaning, morality, and the human condition. Merry Brown's love of philosophy and young adult paranormal and dystopian literature inspired her to write THE KNOWERS, the first book in the Exiled Trilogy. GOLD MANOR GOLD HOUSE is her latest YA paranormal romance book.

My contact info:
twitter: @merryebrown

One randomly drawn commenter will win a $25 Amazon gift card, so I encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:


  1. It's like anything really, to make that commitment to attend to something. Very interesting thank you.


    1. You're right, Mary, writing only gets done because of the commitment. Commitment is a necessary (though not sufficient) condition for publishing a novel.

  2. Thank you for hosting Gold Manor Ghost House today!

  3. I love your thoughts about showing up to write. It is so simple but the key really is to just do it. Thanks for sharing with us

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  4. It sounds like you have had quite the time writing I am always amazed at how writers can come up with an idea and find the exact way to express so that the readers get drawn in and it becomes amazing.. Kudo's for having that commitment.

  5. Excellent interview! Thanks for sharing!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

  6. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win!

    hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu

  7. Thanks for the chance to win!
    Sounds really good!!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com


I love to hear from you. So feel free to comment, but keep in mind the basics of blog etiquette — no spam, no profanity, no slander, etc.

Thanks for being an active part of the Writers and Authors community.