In case you’re wondering where I’ve been (you don’t spend your days combing through the archives?), I’ve been buried deep in my book. I almost made that crazy deadline I set for myself, though I did get some other stuff done, and now I’ve got my nose to the grindstone and am trying to make this happen. No news to report, as of yet, though I’m going to start the writing for the day in a few minutes and I have a sneaking suspicion today might be the day I finish that part I’ve been working on for so long. I can’t reveal anything, but it’s big. Pivotal. Not the apex of the story, but certainly the part where it all “begins”. Hmmm. Maybe I should’ve started here 80,000 words ago? Well, we’ll see.
In any case, I wanted to impart a little wisdom today to whet your writing appetite. Jerry Seinfeld, of all people, had some interesting things to say on the topic, and it seems that he—as well as Frank Herbert, Jack London, and Neil Gaiman, all agree: just sit down and do it. “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard,” Gaiman said, and I think he knows what he’s talking about.
It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it. Seinfeld actually tricked himself into writing, stashing cookies in his notebook. “An hour a day. That was my first goal. Ten hours a month. That’s not easy for someone starting out, and it took me a couple of years to accomplish. Sometimes I had to trick myself to get myself to write. You wouldn’t believe the things I had to do to get myself to write. Sometimes I’d put the cookies by my notebook. It’s like a mousetrap — I go get the cookies, then I look in the notebook, and the next thing I know, I’m writing.”
It’s encouraging to know that even for someone as wildly talented and successful as Jerry Seinfeld, writing was a struggle. Self discipline is about the hardest thing to muster up I’ve ever come across, and sometimes looking at my computer chair is like contemplating a coffin–confining, restricting. But the point is, he did it. And I’m doing it, and everyone has done it. Well, everyone who amounted to anything. So you can to. It’s a hard thing to learn but it must be done if you want to pursue your dreams. Anyone can go into an office and have someone tell them what to do. That’s real, those consequences are tangible. But if you skip your writing session for a day? A week? Who will know? Who will care?
You will, and you owe it to yourself and everyone who will eventually read your work to get it done. This may sound like a stern lecture, but I’m also talking to myself. It’s important to be reminded how essential a good work ethic is, and how much of getting a book written is just sitting down and doing it. It’s not magic, it’s just work. But don’t despair, you’re in good company. I find I’m rather like George R. R. Martin in that respect when he said, “Some writers enjoy writing, I am told. Not me. I enjoy having written.” Absolutely. I enjoy having written. But to get there, you have to write.
There, I feel better. Well, off to get some writing done! Have a good one folks, I’ll catch up with you soon.