You ever hear that old saying? If you had a million monkeys pounding away on a million typewriters, eventually they would reproduce the works of Shakespeare? Not to start preaching or anything like that, but I'm calling bullshit.

Monkeys are not at all qualified to attempt the graceful prose of the Bard, nor would they have the emotional context with which to create and evolve characters into believable and meaningful stories. So, in summary, that's hogwash.

To be fair, if you throw down a smattering of words, chances are something good will come of it. If I give someone a guitar and teach them which side is the business end, do you think eventually they will become James Taylor? No. It takes talent and personal experience to come up with the material that these artists have created.

Is that to say you are a monkey with no shot at producing something good? No, and don't ever call yourself a monkey in my presence again. I'll slap some sense into you.

The point is, sometimes you have to throw down a lot of words before you create something worth keeping. I have a practice, and I think it is one that many writers share, of writing down every idea I get. I don't care how many times I come up with the same "Wizard fights dragon with the power of song" story, it keeps getting better. One day I will find the chocolatey center of that puzzle and strike literary gold.

When I started writing my first manuscript, I had a lot of trouble working out different scenes. It wasn't exactly writer's block, but I could feel the stress building. So I did something a little different and tried free writing something completely out of left field. I wrote a fantasy story, starting with nothing more than "She found the boy near her usual walking path," and what came next was a universe of unexpected detail and filled with unique characters.

Is that fantasy story available for download onto my Kindle, you ask? No, it isn't even CLOSE to done, but the point is a threw down some words and found a story where before there had been nothing.

We are in a noble profession, us storytellers. No matter how many times your family says "Just be a lawyer," you need to know where your passions are and pursue them with tenacity. We create life out of nothing, weave stories with digital ink and electronic paper. We take people on journeys to places that never existed, and then make them sad to leave. People get angry at villains made up in your imagination. And there is, in my opinion, no better feeling than that.

So if you find yourself stuck on a particular scene, or lost as to how to start a story, try free writing. Shut off your brain and let the letters fall off your fingers. Or, in the grosser sense, cut your wrists and bleed out a story.

And if you need a prompt, I've got five journals full of them.