One of the better pieces of advice I’ve read is from Stephen King. “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time to write.”
I love it. It gives me an ‘excuse’ to do one of my favorite things: read. Not like a need an excuse, but it allows me to pick up a book and lose myself for a few pages in the glory that is a good book. It almost doesn’t matter what it is – fiction, non-fiction, history, how-to’s, mysteries, political science – I’ll read it.
It is nice having a reason to bark back at that little voice in the back of my head that’s telling me, “You really should be writing.”
Shut up, little voice. I’m busy.
There’s another side to that blade, though, one that didn’t affect me, or I even noticed, until I started trying to write something myself.
When you’re buried in something good, like a book from King, or Heinlein, or Tolkien, or [insert your favorite author here], there will be a moment, and I can guarantee I will have one of these moments in every book I read nowadays, where I say two things.
One of those is, “Wow,” as in, “Wow, I can’t believe a human being created that thought, put those words on the page in that order and I get to read it.” To me, it is like seeing into the mind of God himself.
The other is, “What the hell do I think I’m doing? I’m never going to write like that. Nothing I ever put down will ever read like that.”
That’s where I’m at, and have been lately. Lots of ‘who the heck do I think I am?’ oozing out of me for the last several weeks. Out of 25 days in October, I’ve worked on the novel no more than half of them.
I preach (or seem to preach, but that could just be me) about ‘fighting through it.’ ‘Just write’ and ‘do the work’ are popular phrases as well.
I’m tired of fighting with myself. I don’t want to do it. Excuses are dripping off me like rain off the back of a duck. The only word count that’s growing is the average number of words I need to write every day to hit the 200k goal that’s looming just over the horizon. Jabbing myself in my left eye with my pen sounds more productive (and less painful) than writing does.
But… as they say, there is always a ‘but’.
There is a lot of The Novel that I can salvage, will salvage, once the draft is done. The edit is something I am looking forward to. I can’t start that until the first draft is finished. And I have a script to edit, a script that might, just might, be marketable once this next revision is done. I can’t start on that until The Novel has been drafted and is tucked safely away in a drawer.
So there it is. My motivation. My motivations. I have quite possibly exorcised the current demon, and you got a front row seat. I hope you brought popcorn. You can’t argue with the price of admission.
So there it is, I’m back to preaching from my chair. The circle is complete. It does boil down to just fighting your way through it, getting back on the horse, taking a look at things at the end of the day from 30,000 feet and maximizing your leveraging opportunities by inverting the pyramid and bringing your actionable items to the table so you can circle back around and enhance your best practices with an eye on drinking the kool-aid. Or some such nonsense.
Write. Just write. Write because you want to, because you love it, because you need to get the monkey off your back and that story out on the page. That’s all it is. Nothing more. Nothing less. Forget the fame, the fortune, the gala luncheons and the mega book signings. Just write.
PS – If anyone scored a ‘bingo’ on their ‘MBA Buzzword Bingo’ card because of that second-to-last paragraph, I get a cut. PM me for details. 😉