Any casual jogger knows the first mile is the hardest. It’s not hardest to run—but it’s the hardest to have run. Once you get all your gear on, get out out the door and get a few minutes in, you’re not going to head back home. The hard part’s over.
When I saw a trick mentioned by Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder, buried inside an interview in The New Yorker, I thought of that old running adage. It’s the same idea—just getting a start is the toughest obstacle to overcome.
Since writing is very hard and rewriting is comparatively easy and rather fun, I always write my scripts all the way through as fast as I can, the first day, if possible, putting in crap jokes and pattern dialogue—“Homer, I don’t want you to do that.” “Then I won’t do it.” Then the next day, when I get up, the script’s been written. It’s lousy, but it’s a script. The hard part is done. It’s like a crappy little elf has snuck into my office and badly done all my work for me, and then left with a tip of his crappy hat. All I have to do from that point on is fix it. So I’ve taken a very hard job, writing, and turned it into an easy one, rewriting, overnight. I advise all writers to do their scripts and other writing this way. And be sure to send me a small royalty every time you do it.
Honestly, I’m basically doing this right now. Well, it isn’t a one-to-one match, but what I frequently do is draft a post at night, or in the late afternoon—basically, not when I intend to publish it, because I’m busy then—and do so about as quickly as I can. I knew I wanted to write a post about this passage, and I’m putting it together quickly as the last thing I do before I call it a day.
When it comes time to publish and share it on social, which is when its turn comes up on our little editorial calendar for this blog, then I’ll circle back, give it a closer read and improve parts that need improving. You know, the fun stuff.
I’ve taken the hard part, writing a blog post, and gotten it over as quickly as possible. Revising, cleaning up and hitting publish is much more fun.
This isn’t going to work for everyone or every post—because nothing does—but it’s a nice little trick that works especially well when you have a post idea in mind.
So, many thanks to the crappy little elf that helped me out on this one.