Skip to content

📝 Showing up

The first step is often the hardest.

David Gane
David Gane
2 min read
A photo of me standing on what remains of the big tree that was in our front yard before the city had to chop it down and access the broken sewer line that was backing-up into our house.
A photo of me standing on what remains of the big tree that was in our front yard before the city had to chop it down and access the broken sewer line that was backing-up into our house.


My name is David Gane and this is my newsletter where I share my creative practice and journey. Thanks for reading.

It’s been a stressful couple of weeks since my last newsletter—worldwide, as well as personally.

My attention has been elsewhere, and it’s often hard to focus on the day-to-day.

However, as I’ve tried to remind myself how to continue moving forward, I’ve also been helping my students with their writing, creative blocks, and journalling.

So I decided to compile a list of the lessons I’ve shared (and used) along the way:

  1. Show up at the page, no matter what. Whether it is your journal, your fiction, or your homework, it doesn’t matter. The first step is always showing up.
  2. When you do show up, there is no need to commit yourself to a long period of time. All you need is to write a few words or for a few minutes. That’s it.
  3. At first, the main goal is to get the thoughts out of your head and onto the page. They don’t need to be in the proper order or make sense. All of that comes later.
  4. Once your words are on the page, you can start finding the shape. What ideas or story beats did you write down? Is there an order to them? Start forming them into a rough outline. (You can change it or toss it as you proceed.)
  5. Remember, you’re allowed to make a mess. Let the words, the writing, and the outline be ugly as they need to be. This is about gathering the pieces. Making sense of them comes later.
  6. Remind yourself that it takes time and craft to strengthen and improve it. (See #10.)
  7. Also, no one needs to see your mess. You can delete it, burn it, tear it up. Only show others the writing you want to share.
  8. Although writing feels like work, also remember that the page is a place to rest and have fun. (This is the lesson I struggle with the most right now.)
  9. Writer’s block is often fear and uncertainty. The only solution is to lean into both and keep writing.
  10. Most importantly, make showing up at the page a regular practice. Whether the words your putting down are for yourself or for others, give yourself the time and space to do it.

Side note: My wife says this list also applies to life in general, adding, “sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you want, and you just have to burn it all down.” 👀

Other things from the past two weeks

  • 📖 Reading: I finished Blake Crouch’s Recursion. I enjoyed it, but the second half struck a little heavy emotionally for me with all that is going on in the world.
  • 📺 Watching: My family and I have enjoyed The Afterparty, which finishes up this week. I was also sucked into the dark weirdness of Severance.
  • 🎧Listening: If you read the recent newsletter from Counios & Gane, you’ll understand why this interview from Creative Elements with the cover designer Mariah Sinclair resonated with me.
  • Lastly, since I mentioned writer’s block, a student of mine sent me this clip from David Lynch discussing it.

Thank you for reading

As always, I appreciate you signing up for the newsletter.

See you in two weeks!


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


Related Posts

Members Public

A desire to write

My writing partner has a book of her own.

A desire to write
Members Public

A change of season

A new direction for the website.

A change of season
Members Public

The journeys that challenge us

But are still worth it.