Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Do What You Are

I received an incorrect email yesterday. Can you believe it? Has that ever happened to you? It wasn't blatantly incorrect. Just enough to send my radar all acquiver.

Urged to dig a little further, I put on my hardhat. Nothing showed up under Snopes, but Google led me to a wonderful list of lessons. Regina Brett is a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. She made a list of 45 Life Lessons and 5 to Grow On. I'm going to study them a bit more, and probably add one or two of my own.

But. Number 18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

This is a Great Truth. One I have heard before, and one proven out via tweets from writers in the last few days. I love Great Truths.


If you're a teacher, you teach. A painter, you paint. An accountant, you account. Er . . . or something. But you do it.

If all you have is five minutes during a demanding day to do what you are, then do it for five minutes. If you don't, you're cheating yourself.

If you have hours to do what you are, and don't have to think about dinner or chores or other responsibilities, stifle your giggles and get on with it.


If you're a writer, write.

I know what you're doing now. The question is, what are you doing next?

CR: Still reading the Stephen White. (I've told you I'm a slow reader.)

It's all better with friends.


  1. Your words beg an interesting question for me, Peg, which is when does a writer not write? Is the oft repeated lesson about writing every day a universal, for every writer? How then does a writer re-charge? Stephen King has some interesting stuff on this in his ON WRITING. I agree with the general principle, especially that writing is a muscle and atrophies if left unused. But I also know that personally when I take a break between projects, diving deep into reading fiction (which I don't do at all during first draft time) I soon begin to get antsy and itching to write again, so that when I finally do sit down, I'm really raring to go. I kind of need the down time to build up the pent up energy that fuels me for the long haul of a novel.

    Of course, I have not been (lucky enough to be) under deadline yet, besides generous allotments of time from my agent. If/when I get there, I may have to compress my time off a little!

  2. Jenny, I'm pretty sure there are a myriad of times and ways we all need our batteries recharged. What works for one person won't necessarily work for the next.

    This may sound weird, but reading WRITER magazine (or something similar on craft)—even one article—can get me itching to DO it, not read about it. Also, reading either an exceptionally good book or an exceptionally bad book can make my Scrivener software turn into a beacon of lust. Well . . . you know what I mean.

    I can't imagine not reading fiction always . . . during first draft time, or on my death bed for that matter. But you're not the only writer I know who doesn't want to "contaminate" her work by reading something at the same time she's creating.

    I would like to get the first draft of this book completed in July. It's not a deadline (sorry to say) but it is a target. One that unfortunately, I keep forgetting about.

  3. Also, a fiction writer should be writing more than just their novel. In today's world, there is so much more to it than that.

    I do try to write every day (my goal is 500/day), but it's not always on my novel. Sometimes it's on my blog, sometimes it's on an article, sometimes it's on my CWG homework. As long as I write SOMETHING.