Q: Besides keeping a stiff upper lip, what’s your best piece of advice for writers who get overwhelmed with the notion of getting down to work?
A: The best thing to do is to take a practical approach and understand that writing is a muscle like any other. I have helped hundreds of people overcome writer’s block, and I find that one of the most effective cures is my one-minute writing exercise. You simply put a pad of paper by your bed and when you wake up in the morning you write whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s a shopping list and you write only a page, because after about a week you’ll start writing your story, without fear, regardless of whether or not it’s in proper format. The exercise works because the simple physical act of writing, even just a shopping list, makes you more accustomed to writing in general, so when you sit down to work on your screenplay or your novel or whatever it is you’re working on, your writing muscle is already in tip-top shape. The trick is to start in small amounts, like you would a new workout program: you don’t want to go to the gym too often right off the bat because you’ll pull a muscle and stop altogether. People that do this tend to write like crazy for three days and then they don’t write again for three years. It’s much more powerful to build your writing muscle slowly. You’ll know intuitively when you’re ready to tackle your passion project without fear or trepidation.