Quite recently I have done some writing.
In the last three months I have spent considerable time thinking about writing. I have read about writing. I have planned writing. I have frequently spoken about writing. I have joined a writer’s group and enrolled in a couple of writing courses. Over time, I have noticed a theme.
All across the writing fraternity, from beginner to prolifically published, writers find excuses not to write: messy desk, too tired, haven’t got time, washing up, dog walking, car needs plucking, eyebrows need washing. Avoiding it like it’s a school assignment for a subject they hate, instead of embracing it like an old friend.
It is completely confusticating (so what if it is a made up word, all words are made up) why this should be the case, but it is. I am far from immune myself; I’d win the procrastination competition if I only got around to filling in the entry form type thing. I don’t pluck my car very often, though.
I finally got sick of all that crap, so I set myself a goal: “I’m gonna write 500 words a day, I am.” said I, “No ifs, buts or maybes.” I added, with a gulp.
That was a week ago, and now I have 3,191 words of story, my story. Adding that to the parts of the story I wrote in 2008 – no kidding – gives me in excess of 10000 words, which is, give or take, one tenth the word count of your average epic fantasy novel. Those of you who can do maths will notice I had a day off (and wrote this) but I am going to catch up and do 1000 tomorrow, darn tootin’.
If I can continue at that pace I will have 100,000 words by Christmas.
I have proven to myself that it is possible to write if you want to; just press the little red button, let the washing-up wait a few hours, tell the car go pluck itself, close the damn door, and write.
You can do course upon course, you can read about it until your eyes bleed, you can do a million and one things related to writing, but they’re not writing. The most valuable advice, in my pretty damn humble opinion, is encapsulated within this little idiom (which is a quote whose origin I can’t remember): to have written, one must first write.
Obvious much? Of course, so why is it so hard to sit down and type the damned story? That’s rhetorical; it isn’t a fair question. The difficulty is a fallacy, it is in the head; thinking about doing it makes it seem hard, simply sitting down and doing it is much easier.
Things are much harder when you’re not doing them than when you are! If you stop making excuses and sit down and write, and do it consistently, before long there’ll be a story where there wasn’t one before; your story.