Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

Writing Tip #23

The only way to make it as a writer is to learn to write when you least feel like it.

So the next time you don’t feel like writing, view this as an opportunity, not a curse. Here’s a chance to prove you have what it takes. Prove it to yourself. Write anyway.

You can always delete. If you don’t write, there’s nothing you can do with the time you wasted. And nothing you can accomplish by procrastinating is as beneficial as getting words down.

The next time you feel writers’ block coming on, show it you mean business and write your ass off. Pretty soon, it’ll leave you alone.

11 replies to “Writing Tip #23”

Thanks Hugh. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Just recently uploaded my first book to Kindle and have a short story being edited right now. I want so badly to move on and write, but I’m struggling right now.


This reminds of something I learned years ago when I worked in TV news. I had the opportunity to interview hall of fame quarterback Roger Staubach, and one of the things he said was he worked his hardest when the team was playing its worst – watch more film, stay later after practice, etc. You can always quit tomorrow, so why not put in the work today?

Good encouragement, Hugh. I don’t write very quickly, but I spend a lot of time at it daily. This comes from my training working as a professional classical 2D pencil-pushing animator. I start every day with writer’s block, staring at a blank page or screen. I don’t wait for inspiration—I chip away at the block. I have to have a point of view I am trying to make with the words I write. With that point I can chip away at the block…and eventually crack it, split it open…and find another block waiting for me. This continues until I reach the end of my story. ;)

Agreed and excellent advice! Being very new to writing as a profession I try to write daily, but things happen and I get jammed up. Rembering every journey starts with a step really helps. When I look back at my life it seems clear everything worthwhile started this way, one step at a time. Thanks for the reminder!

If that advice were offered about eating, everyone would be obese. Sorry, but I don’t think it’s valid for me. If it works for you, Bub, then go for it. I’d advise to let it flow naturally. Then force one’s self to edit.

Although I didn’t officially sign up for the NaNoWriMo, I did try to keep pace with it this year (even though I teach full-time at college). After several days, I found myself completely back on track to write daily and the passion has intensified. I’ve not stopped, even on bad days. When I don’t feel like it, usually my characters start interacting in my mind, and I need to write while it’s fresh.

Merry Christmas!

Making myself write is like making myself exercise. Once I break through the resistance – mental and physical – there’s almost always a burst of power, creativity, and enthusiasm that lasts for hours.

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