Tuesday, May 30, 2017

If you're not going to write every day: Quit now!

Seriously!
Fucking bite me!

So, I read this blog post yesterday with a similar title. I have no idea who the author was. Some whiny bitch dude, I've never heard of, giving advice and... shit I don't know what the hell he was doing. I read half of it, and it was long as fuck, going on to illustrate his point in other jobs and... he freakin' meant that title. Like you know, he's king of the book advice because he has a couple out.

I've given advice in the past. I don't like to give advice. I feel like I'm not good enough to offer much advice. Sit ass in chair and write... I've said that so many times and I stand by that as the only sure fire piece of advice that works. If you want to write, then you write. Writers write. We write and we write and we write. One day we might be published. Not all writers who write are published. Doesn't mean they're not writers. Doesn't mean they failed. Not all writers want to be published. Not all writers have the stomach to jump into this shark infested field for very little pay. Dude, publishing is fucking insane, why in the hell would anyone want to do that?

But, so, why am I writing about this if I agree with the guy? I know you're asking that question. I hear ya. The thing is, I don't. I don't agree with that age old piece of advice at all. I feel like it's elitist, dictatorial bullshit. Sort of along the lines of I got mine... yeah yeah... bite my big fat writer's ass.

It is true, if you want to be a writer you write. How you write and when you write is totally up to you. Writing a thousand words a day every day isn't the law. Writing a hundred words a day... dude write a Facebook post or something. People read shit like that and think that's what real writers do and then they don't follow a dream they might have had because of some unrealistic notion that real writers write every damned day and if they don't they're hacks and should quit.

The truth is real writers have day jobs or night jobs or two jobs or three jobs. They have families. Sometimes they have families and a job or two. Real life sucks, it sucks time and energy and dreams and if it leaves us with enough time to read a magazine while sitting on the toilet then sometimes that's all the time we have. 

I wrote my first book around 20 years ago when my older three kids were all under 5. The youngest was two, she's about to be 22. I wrote it on yellow legal paper and spiral notebooks in pencil. I wrote it when they napped or played in the yard. I wrote it at night after they went to bed. It's around 70k words. It took me a year. I never published it and I never will. I will never publish the second  or the third book I wrote. The fourth, fifth and seventh books were published. No one cares. Not a soul. Crickets man, crickets. Were they good? I don't know. No one read them, moving on.

Point is, I kept writing even though I might never publish. I kept writing even when no one would read the stories. I kept writing through horrible years of hurricane destruction and death and dealing with kids and a late life pregnancy that has destroyed my body and my health. I've published 25 books since I wrote my first book 20 years ago. I'm about to finish my 30th book. In 20 years. That's damned remarkable considering I didn't write for three years. AT. ALL. And then I wrote like a fiend for a year.  

I don't write book after book or story after story. My brain is not built that way. I write a book until it's finished. I don't write every day that I'm writing a book. I take days off. I go out. I do things. I function. But when a book must be written in must be written. Some days I am lucky to get a couple of paragraphs out. Other days it's five or six thousand words or until my finger tips are so sore that touching the keys sends electric shocks up my arms. I wrap one wrist in an arthritis compression glove and a wrist wrap because carpal tunnel and arthritis... because I'm a writer. I write a book until that book is done. And I write it in the time I have available. And if I don't have time or the mental ability to write each and every day... I watch television or read OPB (other people's books) because I'm a human being who has options.

In a perfect world, I'd love to be able to do nothing but sit and write. And I did for a long time. I did that because I thought I had to. I thought I had to because everyone around me is churning out book after book and I was being left behind. I was competing with others and killing myself for words on a page that didn't mean shit to me just to throw words on a page. And I hated throwing words on a page like so much paint splatter to see what stuck. So I don't do that. I write because I want to write. Because I have a story to tell. I write when the story tells me to write it. Not because some asshole with an inflated ego says this is what writers do. Writers don't do that.

You know what writers do... we write. Yes. That is the one and only tried and true way you're ever going to write a book. Sit your ass in a chair and pound words onto a page. But do it on your own terms, at your own pace. Not because you think that's what writers do. 

And I'll tell you another thing... that thing about writers living on coffee and cigarettes... yeah, I rarely drink coffee and I don't smoke. I do forget to eat and bathe when I'm in the middle of  a story that must be told. Not sure about other writers. And when it's done the first thing I do is pull out the bacon and eggs and eat like I haven't seen food in a month... because I haven't. Candy corn and potato chips and Dr Pepper... yeah, I eat like shit when I'm writing.

Write where you are with what you have. Pencil and legal pads. Laptop. Desktop. A combination of all three. Just write. If you're a writer, you write. If you're going to quit, quit. I've quit 20 times or more. Yet somehow, there are still stories to be told when I'm ready to listen. You do you.

And that's all I'm going to say on the subject.
Mercy

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. Thank you for writing this. You said things I needed to hear, because I don't write every day. I can't. I have 3 kids, none of whom drive, a job, and a husband. I get tired, too tired to do anything but sit in front of the television. Sometimes the television turns to background noise as ideas churn in my brain. Sometimes not.

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