Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sit down and write

Here's something: I've been busy. Like, really busy. Work has been crazy and Shaun's mom was staying with us and I threw a baby shower for a good friend. I had my birthday in the midst of that busy period, and it was kind of ridiculous -- I worked until about 10pm, came home and drank a glass of wine and watched half an episode of Grey's Anatomy in bed and then fell asleep. Happy birthday to me.

So, yeah, busy.

But you know what? Not that busy.

I have done barely any writing all month. I haven't updated this blog and I haven't worked on the novel I'm trying to write -- the one I wanted to have a draft finished by October.

I have not been that busy. I could have squeezed in a couple hundred words here or there. A page or two. A blog post.

Today I was reading Young House Love (one of the best blogs I've ever come across -- but you probably already know that.) To celebrate their five-year 'blogiversary' they did a 'By The Numbers' type post.

Their stats just blew me away.

Their average post is 1,800 words. They write over 14,000 words a week. They've written 2,311 posts in the last five years.

Honestly, that level of dedication is AMAZING to me. I mean, I know that blog is their job and they get paid to put in that kind of labour but still. I would like writing to be my job someday and yet still I find excuses not to write.

I'm busy. Work was stressful. I'm tired. I just want to go to bed early. The cat is sleeping on my laptop and I don't want to wake him up.

I have a mess of excuses. I am filthy with them. I am a wasp nest, full of buzzing, insistent things that I'm so sure need to be done RIGHT NOW.

And not just totally separate things either, like housework or work-work. I still think about writing, sure, but I waste time reading about how to name your characters or how to market your book using Twitter. Things that pretend to be productive but don't actually lead to doing the work.

Steven Pressfield, who wrote The War of Art, a book I very much like, has a new book out called Turning Pro. I haven't read it yet but came across this passage online:

My life used to be a shadow novel. It had plot, characters, sex scenes, action scenes. It had mood, atmosphere, texture. It was scary, it was weird, it was exciting. I had friends who were living out shadow movies, or creating shadow art, or initiating shadow industries. These were our addictions, and we worked them for all they were worth. There was only one problem: none of us was writing a real novel, or painting a real painting, or starting a real business. We were amateurs living in the past or dreaming of the future, while failing utterly to do the work necessary to progress in the present. 
When you turn pro, your life gets very simple.… 
When we turn pro, the energy that once went into the Shadow Novel goes into the real novel. What we once thought was real – “the world,” including its epicenter, ourselves – turns out to be only a shadow. And what had seemed to be only a dream, now, the reality of our lives.

I feel like I'm close. To being able to walk away from my shadow life and into my real life. I'm close but I make excuses, still. I'm busy. I'm tired. I'll just read this book about writing instead of actually writing.

But I'll have less excuses tomorrow. And less the day after that. I am making my life more and more simple -- and when I look back, I see that I've been doing that for years now, actually. All things are moving in the right direction. I just need to be brave enough to jump.

No, scratch that. I just need to be brave enough to sit down -- to sit down and write.


  1. I'm glad you stopped in and sat down and wrote for us :_)

  2. I'm sure you've read it before, but it is worth re-reading a thousand times: http://therumpus.net/2010/08/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-48-write-like-a-motherfucker/