Okay, okay, stick with me on this one. I know that it sounds obvious at first.
It is all too easy to get in my own way. I think, "I need to go work. Time for work! Need to go write." And when I think in terms of writing and working, I can freak myself out.
I mean: writing. It's a big endeavor.
Some tiny part of my mind thinks that I need to sit down and do all the work I'm ever going to do. Or maybe write, like, fifteen novels. Today.
"I am going to go write."
Super grandiose. I don't feel smart enough, most days, to call myself a writer.
That's why I love this quote. He's not talking about tackling the entire enterprise of writing: he reframes it. And the moral of the story becomes: Go to the typewriter.
Don't think, how do I get to my writing. Just think in physical, concrete terms. How do I get my butt to land on my desk chair? How do I turn on my computer? Where is a workable pen?
"I am going to construct an alternate reality out of 26 letters" becomes "I am going to open a fresh document. I am going to put my hands over the keyboard."
It's funny, but when I think that my whole job for the morning is just to sit down in front of a document on my computer, I start working. The friction dissipates. My job becomes so, so simple. All I'm doing is spinning a few sentences. All I'm doing is thinking of one image and writing it down.
It's not so big. It's not so scary, this writing thing.
If I don't go to the typewriter I don't write. -- Terrence McNally