Talking about writing isn’t writing. Planning to write isn’t writing. Dreaming of writing isn’t writing. Thinking of writing isn’t writing.
There is nothing wrong with any of those things. Some of them can be very important. But there is one thing they are not. They are not writing.
Only writing is writing.
“Oh, wow. You started writing? You’re working on a book? That’s so cool. You know. I always thought I could write a book.”
I’ve heard variations on that theme from multiple people since I began writing. And they mean what they’re saying. They really, sincerely do want to write. And they can always come up with reasons why they aren’t. I used to be them. For all of my adult life, I was that person. I knew that I wanted to write. I realized that I was at least passingly good at it. In fact, I knew I could write a better book than at least some of the published works I’ve read, for I have read some really awful books that got published. Fortunately, I never thought I was as good as or better than the best. I still have some semblance of humility, or try to. Yet I wasn’t writing. I was wanting to write, talking about writing, dreaming of writing, planning to write.
Then, one day last May I was listening to a podcast. Sadly, I do not recall what it was since for reasons you will see in a moment, I got distracted before subscribing. Whatever that Podcast was, it told me to stop trying to get ready to write, and just write.
I shut it off. I closed the podcast app. I picked up my keyboard, and I wrote the prologue of my novel. I also made the determination that I would write something every single day, no matter what, for at least a month.
In short, instead of doing all sorts of things about writing, I wrote. This has not, as of yet, led to fabulous riches or acclaim. In fact, I haven’t yet sold anything. But it has led to a novel that the sparse few who have read it enjoy. And quite a few short stories in varying stages of polish.
I am fairly sure this can equate to a lot of things that you may want to do. Perhaps you want to start running. Same applies. Stop planning to run, and get out there.
Life is short. Life is unpredictable. None of us know how much time we are going to get. If you have a dream, but aren’t doing anything about it… stop dreaming and do it. Or if you don’t have the skills to do it, start learning. The internet is chok full of learning resources.
“But I don’t have the time,” I hear some of you thinking. Boy, you sure do think loudly. Make the time. You may have to give up something, but it can be done. I do not suggest giving up eating, sleeping or working, and do not give up all your time with family, but give up something. Watch less television. Don’t sleep in on the weekend. Perhaps read a tiny bit less (but don’t stop altogether, reading is a good tool for writing.) Even if you can only carve out half an hour every other day, it is still more than you were doing.
It is worth it. I tell this to you as an unpublished author. Even if I never get published, I will spend the rest of my life knowing, absolutely knowing, that I was correct when I told myself that I was capable of writing a book. Imagine what you might be capable of.
Now stop imagining, and go do it. Then come back and tell me about it, so I can cheer you on.
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