Write Like No One’s Reading

Google “Why is writing so hard?” and you’ll pull up lots of excuses. We don’t set aside time. We don’t make writing a habit. We’re new at writing, and everything new is hard. And a big one—we’re scared that our writing won’t be any good.

Dance Write like no one’s watching reading!

You could say the same about dancing, but a few beers later we’re all out on the dance floor enjoying life. The saying, “Dance like no one’s watching,” encourages us to go and do what we want to do and forget about what other people think. Why not approach writing the same way? But ditch the few beers, unless you really need them.

Dancing is actually harder, because it’s physical activity. There’s not much effort in pushing keyboard letters. The hard part is all in your head. But you’ve done much of the hardest part already. If you want to write a memoir, you have some idea of what you’ll write. Is it hard to sit on a chair and type? Or lean back on the couch and speak into a talk-to-text? It really isn’t.

To get started, write anything. Absolutely anything that gets even a little close to something you want in your memoir. Tell one story or describe one emotional reaction that you know very, very well. If there will be a hard part of your memoir, this is not it. This is not the chapter that makes you cry or wince or feel terrible all over again as you did when you actually lived the words. This first stab at your first draft is just one piece of your life that you know you can explain.

And that’s it for today. Tomorrow you’ll read it, and you’ll see that you kind of like it; you’ll add to it or write a new story. Or you’ll read it and hate it, so you’ll fix it or delete it altogether and start over. By day three you’ll begin to feel like a writer. You’ll look at your calendar and decide which days you will definitely write. You’ll think, “I can do this.” And you know what? You can.