It was not easy at first. I skipped two days of word count. I had promised myself 1000 words a day for the next thirty. Now, I was faced with 3,000 words on the third day to catch up. The novel I was writing was the story of a father and daughter as they deal with the daughter’s bipolar illness. I knew this story yet somehow could only find the words to write the first paragraph. The words wouldn’t come…they just wouldn’t come. I felt pressured. As I sat at my laptop with a word processing page open, I found myself playing “inspirational” music on my iPhone instead of writing. I glanced at pages of my favorite books. I read a few pages of my library book, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Signature of all Things. I called myself back to the process by putting in some Debussy into the CD player in my office. Words and images danced in my mind of my novel. I told myself that I don’t have to write the novel in order. I could start with a scene or a dramatic scene or just a scene. I could cut and paste later. Telling this to myself, a perfectionist, was like telling a child not to eat dessert first. Still, nothing concrete comes. Am I putting too much pressure on myself? Should I wait for the story to gel in my mind awhile more and when the moment is right I’ll just know it and begin? My mentor Dani Shapiro would tell me to just write. Write it bad, just get it out, you can always revise later. After all, revision brings you closer to the work. A journalism professor of mine once told me one had to write all the bad words out before the good stuff came forth. I’ll take that as true. So, I made a quick and simple outline and I began…to write.