The Secret to Writing

Last week, I attended several wonderful events, some a part of the annual Wisconsin Book Festival, two events at the library where I work.  At one of the programs, the author, Monica Brown, was asked, “What is the secret to writing? When you find yourself having serious writer’s block, what can you do?”

The entire audience of over 50 people leaned forward in anticipation as she said with a gleam in her eye, “The Secret to Writing is B-I-C.”

B-I-C?  I could see the quixotic looks on people’s faces. Is that an acronym? Or does it refer to using a bic pen? 

We all leaned forward again as she slowly and carefully explained, “Butt in Chair.”

Yep, that’s it. When you’re stuck, when the words won’t come, when you’ve had your morning coffee, let the dog out, and taken a walk around the block, you just have to do it. Sit your butt down in the chair and do it. Write. Or stare at a blank piece of paper. Or a blank screen. But sit there. Just sit there. Until you write. Because you will. Eventually. Don’t get up. Just sit.

Now, I am confident that Monica Brown was in now way denigrating all the other great techniques for overcoming writer’s block. My personal favorite was one I heard from local writer and artist, Greg Williard. He will go somewhere – a coffee shop, the grocery store, anywhere people are gathered — and just write down bits and pieces of conversations he overhears. It gets the pen moving and the little wheels in the brain turning. And it can spark some amazing prose!

I’d like to hear what you find helpful to jumpstart your writing.

In the meantime, I’ll be right here. BIC.

-Chris Wagner

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