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Hit The Page Running

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To fight Resistance, Steven Pressfield says he dives right in.




My mantra when I finally sit down to work is

Hit the page running.

What I mean by that is to plunge in immediately.

First minute.

First second.

First millisecond.

Why do I do this?


I don’t want to give Resistance the slightest opening to worm its way into my brain and start me “thinking.”

No dawdling.

No cogitating.

No mulling over.


Get to work.

Get into the flow.

If I’m working on Draft #1 of a new project, I will pick up immediately where I left off yesterday. Without “thinking,” I’ll continue telling the story. If I left off yesterday with Uncle Pismo clutching a double-bladed axe in both hands as the leader of the zombies hurtles toward him across the work floor of the abandoned noodle factory, I’m gonna have Pismo sling that weapon first thing.

I wanna get into that fight as fast as I can.

Into the story.

Into the flow.

Remember, our enemy in writing our novel or screenplay is not plot or theme or characters.

Our enemy is Resistance.

If I’m working on Draft #11 of a project, the work is easier. I have pages already. I’ve got the characters, the story, the theme. Momentum is already there on the page.

Still I’ll plunge in, Minute One, without hesitation and without thought.

Pick up where I left off and keep going.

I might go slowly. I might be focusing intently on single words and single beats of punctuation. But I’m relentlessly pushing forward without letting Resistance, in any of its manifold manifestations, weasel its way in.

It goes without saying, I have turned off all external sources of distraction.

No phone.

No e-mail.

No Instagram.

No Facebook.

I am on an ice floe in Antarctica.

I’m circling alone at 70,000 feet.

I’m on the moon.

Barring a zombie apocalypse or a family emergency, I will not turn my attention to anything that’s not happening inside my own demented brain.




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..I lost a John Cleese interview when my other phone was stolen. He had much the same advice for comedy writing, basically saying that the first twenty minutes is gold and you should get up and get a good cuppa after that. Then start something else, like another beat of that scene or another scene entirely.


You can see this cyclical pattern in a Monty Python sketch. Set up the situation; joke; beat it to death; joke revival on another tack; shouting overreacting; the punchline. Then the Python touch: the non-sequitur segue to the next sketch.

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