But those writers who’ve been fooling with Chapter One for two years, who can’t get the story down because the little time they devote to writing is spent tweaking those first 15 pages?
The ones who insist they’re preparing to write when what they’re actually doing is caressing the new writing tools they got for Christmas, or shopping for color-coded stickies at the stationery store?
The ones who tell me their latest accoutrements are just what they need to make significant progress on their book? Encouraging words for those writers? Sorry. I’ve run out.
These are not my students. The “writers” I’m referring to haven’t found time to take a class with me or anyone else. Instead, they accost me after I give a talk on writing or when I’m on my way into the library for some focused writing time.
I’ve Heard All the Excuses
For years I’ve nodded patiently while listening to these writers list the reasons their lives are busier than other writers’ lives.
I tell them about Margaret Walker and countless other women and men who had children to rear on little money, or struggled with illnesses—their own or their family’s—or scrambled to subsist in war torn areas—but still wrote and published their work.
The wannabe writers smile sheepishly. “You’re right,” they say, earnestly. “I know you’re right.”
I tell them to take a writing class of their choice; it needn’t be one of mine. A class will help keep them accountable.
But when I next see them, they offer a new raft of excuses.
Do You Really Want to Write—or to Have Written?
Brenda Ueland wrote If You Want to Write, a wonderful book for aspiring writers. Go ahead and read it.
But if you really want to write, stop talking about it. Quit complaining. Give up the excuses. (You can’t come up with any I haven’t heard ad nauseum.)
Don’t grab me to whine when I’m on my way to write or to teach. Just sit down and write.
If you’re an aspiring writer who’s running out of time, you might want to read Finding Time to Write.
Finally, I recommend this post: Hardworking vs. Talented.
For more writing tips, please follow lynettebenton on Twitter.