Tips for Writers: Just Show Up


So, what’s the tip? It’s right there in the title, actually, but by way of explanation: Underpinning my previous encouragement to not wait for inspiration, is the fact that a leap-of-faith is involved in believing you’ll have any idea what to write once you get “there.” This isn’t about choosing a topic—there are lots of writing prompts available for that. But once you have a topic, perhaps due to a wonderful/terrifying paid assignment, or an ongoing story or project, what are you going to write when you get there?

Sometimes your leap-of-faith will be a mere hop over a crack. Other times it’ll be a daredevil Evil Knevel dive across the Grand Canyon. That’s why it’s called a leap of faith. Faith means trust.

But trust in whom?


If you desire to write, that desire comes from somewhere, and that same somewhere holds the key to what to write. Sometimes you’ll have notes and ideas up the ying-yang (oh, your poor ying-yang). Other days you’ll have nada, zilch, squatarooney.

I’m pretty sure I just made that last word up.

But wait, that’s my point! I just made that last word up. As in on-the-spot, as in I had no idea I would come up with it until I came up with it. As in when I started writing the sentence I suddenly decided to be silly (a congenital affliction of mine) and write multiple synonyms: nada, zilch, squat. And then it occurred to me to make it even sillier by adding “-arooney.”

Yeah, I know, it’s not really all that clever. But it does illustrate my point: I didn’t come up with it until I showed up.

So take the leap. The worst that can happen is you’ll plunge to your metaphorical death, and plunging to your metaphorical death isn’t really all that bad. Trust me, I’ve done it many times. In fact, when I do, I always seem to come up with a way to survive. But only once I’m there.

So just show up!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

81 Responses to Tips for Writers: Just Show Up

  1. Pingback: Tips for Writers: Just Show Up – Daily News Made Simple

  2. I’ve been dealing with some writers block lately. Thanks for the advice.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Dora says:

    To Youm It May Concern,
    This is wondrously encouraging!

    Liked by 8 people

  4. “Just show up” is my advice when people are having difficult in prayer. Showing up is half the battle–and being open moves the process along.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. One of the most common things I write about is that I can’t figure out what to write about.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Gary Fultz says:

    OK, good tip Mitch, but the same song was playing on the radio this morning after yesterdays metaphorical death, so I’m waiting till after ground hog day

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Krista says:

    “Squatarooney” 😃 love it

    Liked by 7 people

  8. This is very helpful! Thanks.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Gail Perry says:

    Thanks, Mitch. These days, showing up means sitting in a different chair! And making up words is part of daily speech around here! Happy Saturday 🙂🇨🇦🙏

    Liked by 5 people

  10. robstroud says:

    “Metaphorical death” is a fascinating concept. I’ve been there too… although mine is more typically a metaphorical catastrophe of epic proportions.

    Liked by 6 people

  11. This is excellent advice, Mitch. I’ve written over 100 posts ( I know, that’s not that much) simply by showing up. Along the way I discovered one sure way to become a better writer: write.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Natalie Goldberg would advise us to bring lots of paper when we show up. In Writing Down the Bones (1986) she says, “Practiced writers go through miles of paper.” That encouragement helps me keep my pen moving, knowing that even experts don’t write a perfect page on the first try. (Of course, these days most people write on their laptops; she’d probably recommend pages–miles of pages on our screens.)

    Liked by 7 people

  13. Here I am! I’ll take my inspiration now, please.

    Liked by 6 people

  14. pastorpete51 says:

    Better rush to get that new word copyrighted. It just might be in big demand soon!

    Liked by 6 people

  15. Great advice retold with Mitch’s fresh perspective.

    Liked by 6 people

  16. nickreeves says:

    I seem to be writing/living under cover these days; not in a secret squirrel kinda way, just everything is generally spread around/on my bed! So, no excuses for me.
    *pulls duvet over head*

    Fandabbidosi post, Mitch

    Liked by 9 people

  17. Very good advice! I have often said to my poetry students that there is always the thrill of discovering the unknown when one sits down to write a new poem.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. Hetty Eliot says:

    👏👏👏👏 I love this. So much gold and so funny

    Liked by 6 people

  19. This is clever and has a great style and flow.

    Hope Koppleman writes about meeting the universe at the page and seeing where it takes you.

    I would add that by simply by showing up and being willing to meet the page to see where it will take you , by doing that, you are entering into a contract of creation with the Universe

    Liked by 6 people

  20. billtonnis says:

    Showing up and just simply writing is it. I started writing scripture reflections five days a week to my email list of kids when I was a youth minister in 2008. It turned into a larger list. Then a blog. Then all the reflections turned into two books and a third is waiting to be organized. Same with songs. Started slowly 20 years ago. Now I have 4 albums. Follow the call without any expectations. Why not?!

    Liked by 8 people

  21. ashok says:

    2021 has begun well for me – just published my first book – 4 Pillars of Abundant Life

    I wish and pray that 2021 is great for you too. Do check out the book 😊

    Liked by 6 people

  22. I didn’t want to show up tonight, but remembered your post! Thanks for this! Needed it!

    Liked by 6 people

  23. c.f. leach says:

    Great Post! Would love to use this for my Writer’s Tip section. Do you mind?

    Liked by 6 people

  24. c.f. leach says:

    Reblogged this on Rhemalogy and commented:
    Here are some helpful writer’s tips from Mitch Teemley. He’s a Writer, Filmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer and my friend.

    Liked by 5 people

  25. Yes! show up…good reminder to do.

    Liked by 4 people

  26. Monica Locke says:

    Great words of encouragement and so true. Often I battle fear of writing but when I overcome that fear and just sit down and write, I really enjoy it so much. And God gets all the glory as I trust Him to do it. I’m learning how important it is to just show up.

    Liked by 7 people

  27. Thank you Mitch. Timely message🙏

    Liked by 4 people

  28. Pingback: Tips for Writers: Just Show Up – Kreativ Solo

  29. joyroses13 says:

    So true!! More times than not I sit down at the computer not having a clue as to what to write, but then just like your “squatarooney” word the ideas just come, and that’s why my stories get crazy at times! 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  30. Ann Coleman says:

    Sometimes, simple answers are also the best ones. And this is one of those times, because that’s very good advice!

    Liked by 4 people

  31. LifeooNaut says:

    Applies for other domains too!

    Liked by 4 people

  32. JP Robinson says:

    Mitch would you be open to sharing info about our upcoming virtual Christian writers conference? Information is at Thank you, JPR

    Liked by 4 people

  33. A post that reinforces the saying, ‘The hardest part of any journey is taking that first step. ‘… Or as Nike puts it more crisply, Just do it! Fear can be paralytic…fear of not delivering, of criticism, of realising that maybe am not upto it etc.

    Liked by 4 people

  34. This is so true! Thank you, Mitch!

    Liked by 3 people

  35. This really resonates with me, and where I am at now. I find a free write style useful, as far as getting the juices going when I show up to write.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Cheryl Schaeffner says:

    great encouragement Mitch! Thanks

    Liked by 2 people

  37. K.L. Hale says:

    Thank you, Mitch, for always sharing your wisdom!

    Liked by 2 people

  38. copycatsc says:

    As someone just getting started, and is still getting used to everything, this is what I needed to hear! Thank you

    Liked by 5 people

  39. Very helpful article.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Because showing up is half the battle. And you never know what new GINORMOUS words emerge.



    Liked by 2 people

  41. Pingback: Tips for Writers: Just Show Up – ابن الحاج

  42. Thanks for the advice. Whenever I think of writing I end up getting stuck at thinking about what to write about.

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Sheri Dye says:

    This is such wonderfully helpful advice. I’ve found myself writing on my phone at random times during the day, just trying to catch my thoughts before they’re gone again. It really helps to have the idea there and just have to clean it up later.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. judaenb says:

    Thank you for the encouragement!

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Pingback: Tips for Writers: Just Show Up – Aakash teach and technical

  46. antonymstandish says:

    Great post and on point. Sometimes when I feel the urge to write it often starts from an idea in my head. I grab my phone and start to make notes for later in the day to make sense of it. I find it difficult to sit in front of my laptop and simply write, I have to have an idea or some sort of starting point. It helps with the creative aspects of putting ink to paper. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  47. Dalen Flynn says:

    You’ve got a good point here. I like this!

    Liked by 2 people

  48. I can see why this made the list! Great encouragement. And very timely too. I was just beginning to wonder if the only successful bloggers are the bloggers who teach other bloggers to blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  49. It may seem dismissive to some, but ‘just write’ is the most bang-for-your-buck tip you can share to aspiring writers. Also, like Steven Pressfield, I believe that the muse is constantly watching over us, waiting for us to show up just so that she can reach us. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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