This was an interesting article I came across today on Linkedin. It summarises my general attitude towards any task that must, needs to, absolutely has to get done. Usually that’s working on my book. I’m not sure why working on my book has evolved into such a tedious chore, but it has, and it’s one I’ll put off on almost any excuse. Usually I can make myself feel better about it simply by updating my blog here: that’s writing, right? Yes, but as Gretchen says, it’s not the right kind of writing. And I know that. Deep down inside, I know that. But I push it to the back of my mind and accomplish thirty other things, just so I can forgive myself for not doing what I know I need to.
This relates back to my previous post “Don’t Be A Draught Horse” where Henry Miller states that you must always write first. Nothing comes before that. Well, I let it. And I try not to feel to bad about that, because usually it’s sending out job applications, practising my violin, drawing, reading, studying German, or any number of other cultivating activities. But they aren’t writing, and they don’t add up when I anxiously notice the page count of my novel hasn’t grown in weeks.
No excuses. Sit down, do the work, and shut up. Like Frank Herbert said, some days I’d rather be out for a walk, or swimming, or sharpening pencils. But you’re not killing the goose here, you’re just producing the egg. Don’t sweat it, you’ll survive the ordeal of writing your novel, and you’ll come out the other side with something wonderful.
EDIT: After reading some feedback, I think it might be important to add that I love writing. I wouldn’t want to do anything else, and there is nothing in the world so satisfying as creating something and watching it grow. It isn’t the writing that gives me pause, it’s the sheer amount of work that is required to make this book a reality. Like any profession, writing is work too, and even if you enjoy doing it, there are still times when the headache and frustration can be overwhelming. But that doesn’t detract at all from the pleasure I find in sitting down and pouring my thoughts and dreams out onto the page. There is nothing I’ve found quite like the joy of writing, and even if I get bogged down and am overcome with uncertainty, it’s part of the process and makes the reward of finishing a great chapter that much more gratifying.
Doesn’t suck to hate doing something that you love to do?
Don’t get me wrong: I love writing, it’s incredibly rewarding. But it’s also very, very difficult and requires a ton of work and focus, that’s the part that I don’t look forward to. The creating part is wonderful. But the planning and intense concentration required? Not so much. It’s more difficult than anything else I do, but I still wouldn’t trade writing for anything.
For me, once I get started I can’t stop. But getting started is the trick.
‘sit down, do the work, and shut up.’ I love the irony hiding in shutting up while words are pouring forth.
Love your blog!!
thanks so much! Sometimes you gotta shut up before you can say anything worth while. =)
A writer that doesn’t have a love-hate relationship with writing isn’t a writer.
Absolutely. Think of Conrad, or Hemingway.