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On writing

January 10, 2010

Most of you who know me, know that I write. It’s not what I “do” for a living, but more of “who I am.” And, like many writers–who have a day job–it’s tough to carve out time to dedicate to your craft. But if you’re a writer, you write. You write because you must. I know that for me, I’m happiest when I’m creating new characters, giving them a little nudge in one direction or another, and then allowing them to go on a journey. It’s my job to go along for the ride, and direct them one way or another if they go off course.

The characters I’m “getting to know” right now are three very different women, each with their own dark secrets, and I’m finding it hard to believe some of the things they are getting mixed up in!

In a recent article, “Secrets of Bestselling Authors,” I found the following quote by author, Andre Dubus, to really capture what all writers need to remember when struggling to find time in their life to sit down and write: “Don’t quit. It’s very easy to quit. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.”

It’s easy to quit, sometimes before you even start. You talk about writing, tell people you’re going to write, but you don’t quite get to the writing part. If you truly want to write, though, you will find the time. Even if it’s for 20 minutes a day or 30 minutes a week. You write. And, trust me on this one, the more you write, the more you will find time to write. It becomes like a drug. You crave it.

I had to remind myself of that recently, when my husband asked how my latest story was coming and I said bitterly, “Well, it would be great if I had more time.” A common response, especially over the holidays when the busyness of my life got taken up a notch. But this day, I was on the couch, watching a repeat episode of Two and Half Men…Maybe not the best use of my time if I was really serious about finishing that chapter. It’s all about the discipline. And you are the only one who can prioritize your time, cause really, no one else cares if you writer or you don’t write. And yes, sometimes you just have to check out and watch mind-numbing TV. But don’t quit. Create a space that is just for you and your writing, if you want to write.

In that same article, Erica Jong says “I think that the joy of writing a novel is the self-exploration that emerges and also that wonderful feeling of playing God with the characters. When I sit down at my writing desk, time seems to vanish … I think the most important thing for a writer is to be locked in a study.”

Create your writing space. Give yourself a goal, and stick to it as much as you can. Remember though “A rule sometimes broken is better than no rule at all,” so don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t keep looking ahead to the finish line, just try to enjoy the journey.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2010 7:26 pm

    I care if you write! šŸ˜›

  2. margaret morrison permalink
    January 12, 2010 1:05 am

    We are eagerly awaiting a new book.My friends often ask if my Daughter in law has a new book out yet.I have told them its started.Take time for yourself you deserve it.

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  1. On Writing – part two « a life less ordinary

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