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Step 1: Open up a blank Google Doc.

No need for any idea yet. Just opening up the white page should evoke something valuable. The ideas may only be in your head right now but we’ll mine them and get them onto the page in no time.

Step 2: Write your title and name at the top.

Like Einstein or Newton or whoever’s Law of Motion, an object at rest stays at rest. So my theory is that if you reverse that and get your fingers in motion over the keyboard, then chug-a chug-a motion like a railroad train now.

Step 3: Google “Locomotion lyrics.”

Confirm that you still know the words.

Step 4: Google who had the Laws of Motion.

Research is a crucial step in all writing.

Step 5: It was Newton.

And yes, you remember “Locomotion.” Also that fingers in motion trick didn’t work, and now you are staring at a title and your name. That first realization that “writing is hard” hits, but that’s okay, it’s hard for everyone. If belching out words was easy, all of our greatest literary and journalistic works would have been published on Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, open up a new tab on your web browser and see if anything has happened in the last 11 minutes.

Step 6: Of course nothing happened, no one uses Twitter anymore.

Check Instagram (posts, THEN stories) and take a quick trip over to Facebook to make sure you didn’t forget anyone’s birthday. Remember the girl from high school who was so hot but you knew that she knew that she knew that she was so hot and that made her seem stuck up, even though you both agreed that she was so hot? It’s her birthday. Maybe she deserves a mea culpa for why you were always a little cold to her. She’d probably appreciate it and respect knowing how much you’ve matured since 2002. Ah, screw it, we’ve got a deadline…  just shoot her over a quick “HBD.”

Step 7: Now that you are caught up on everything everywhere, it’s writing time.

Sometimes creators need inspiration. Put together a quick 20-song inspirational playlist on Spotify, mixing your favorite genres and artists who inspire.

Step 8: New tab, and open up

You won’t write a successful piece if you can’t even come up with another word for “inspire.”

Step 9: Clear out all your extraneous browser tabs.

Now clear your extraneous mind tabs. Try a mental exercise: Think of something, anything, that is funny and could be used for inspiration. Like the guy in your building who still gets Netflix DVDs sent to him.

Step 10: Shit, you never folded your laundry from last night.

That’s just gonna be prying at your brain for the next hour. Might as well knock it out now and while you’re at it, do a quick once-over on the kitchen counter. After those chores are finished, consider cleaning out that one “catch-all” drawer, but realize quickly that if you did that, you’d have no time to write. And you have to write something. Writing is fun!

Step 12: Enough with the stalling techniques.

No more cleaning until this piece is completed. Just you and the computer screen. Just you and the distractingly smudged computer screen. You’re not going to let this sidetrack you later, so just quickly get a wipe and dust yourself clean.

Step 13: Move from the couch to the table, because no serious writer ever got much done from the couch.

A writer must be stripped of all comforts and distractions if they want the words to flow out of them like (FINISH METAPHOR LATER).

Step 14: Even though you swore you wouldn’t ever do it, maybe your number neighbor deserves a response.

Step 15: Go back to earlier and add a step even though you didn’t actually do it this time, because you might next time.

Now go back through and readjust every step number. Of course add this as a step, too.

Step 16: Also, should the steps have a colon or a closed parenthesis after them?

Let’s revisit this step later.

Step 17: At a loss for what’s next, go looking for the AP Stylebook on your bookshelf to see if lists should have colons or closed parenthesis.

Remember the journalism class you took when you had to buy this book? Remember how much you used to love writing? Remember the rush you’d get from finishing an essay and submitting it? Where did that go?

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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