Loved this post by the one and only (thank God, the world couldn’t cope with two of him!) Chuck Wendig today – It’s Half Past “You Should Quit Writing” O’Clock
He gives all the reasons to quit. You’re no good. There’s no money in it. The publishing system screws writers. then, at the risk of giving away the punchline, he says -
If your response to this is to shut down the browser, punch social media right between the 1s and 0s and open up your word processor and write the best fucking thing you’ve ever committed to paper, awesome. Hell, even if you open it up and write a relatively mediocre piece of crap that can be improved with effort, that too earns you a freeze-frame high-five because that proves that this is a thing worth doing. It’s not about talent. It’s about possessing the desire to do it and then the discipline and diligence to back it all up. You’re not born a penmonkey. You choose to be one.
So, make your choice.
Whatever happens, stop blaming other people for your failures. Stop complaining. Stop dicking around. Start doing that thing you want to do and do it with all the love you can fling into it.
If you’re a writer, you’ll write.
If you’re a quitter, you’ll quit.
And if you’re some other thing, find that other thing and be that.
I am a writer. I’ve been a quitter, but not any more. I need to stand up and say it, like an alky at an AA meeting. I need to claim my true title.
I woke up dreaming a new story. I saw it as a published paperback, title, cover, blurb and all. I know the characters. I know the setting.
That seems a good thing, but there’s a lot of work between now and that moment.
First, I need to finish what I’m working on. The other side of not quitting, is completing projects. I’ve been a serial non-finisher.First drafts, yeah, but honest-to-goodness, edited-till-they-shine stories? Nope.
I’ve called myself a writer for years. I’ve really and truly been working at my writing, hours ever week. Getting up at 5am to write. Writing in my lunch breaks. Staying up late writing. Keeping a writing journal. Doing NaNo and Book in a Week.
But I’ve dropped unfinished projects as soon as a shiny new idea came along.
That makes me a quitter still. And worse, a time-wasting quitter, pretending to be a writer, a virgin masturbator thinking she knows all about sex.
Like the difference between playing with myself, and real sex with a skilled lover who knows me inside out. Self-pleasuring is fun and enjoyable, sure. But sex with someone else, especially with someone I love, offers all that plus connection, relationship, the opportunity something deeper.
Writing for the sake of writing is fun, but t’s not what writing is all about.
Stories are meant to be read. That’s the point of them. Creating that relationship with the reader, whether they love the story or hate the story or want to take it home and jump in bed with it and marry it and have its children.
Today, I stop procrastinating on doing what needs to be done to complete a project. I’ll do the fourth (and hopefully last!) round of edits on my current story.
Then I publish it.
Then I write the next story in the series, and the next, and the next.
I don’t want to be a quitter. I also don’t want to be a wanker, playing at writing.
I want to write. Today, and every day, loving my stories with everything I’ve got. Finishing my stories. Putting them out there to be read.
The characters and stories deserve that. I deserve that.
Photo by Lorenzo Blangiardi