Gretchen Rubin is the author of the bestselling nonfiction books The Happiness Project, Better Than Before, and Happier at Home.
Write every day. By writing regularly, and staying inside a project, I keep myself engaged, energetic, and creative. Henry Miller wrote, "When you can't create you can work." If I'm stuck and don't know what to write, I spend the writing time to edit what I've already written, review my notes, or re-read earlier sections. Before long, I find myself writing.
My most important mantra: Have something to say! This sounds so obvious, but it is so, so important. Every time I've had trouble writing, it was because I didn't have something to say. Once I had an idea clearly in my mind, and a sense of urgency about relating it, my writing became much easier. For instance, when I was trying to write my college essay. I was having a horrible time, until I thought of what I wanted to say, and then I wrote quickly, revised endlessly and with great pleasure, and now that essay is one of my favorite things I've ever written.
I love M. Somerset Maugham's The Summing Up. There he gives two maxims for playwriting that I apply to my writing, as well: “But I think the secret of playwriting can be given in two maxims: stick to the point and whenever you can, cut.”