Nephele Tempest wrote an entry at RTB this week that had me clapping while thinking on the general theme.
Essentially, what she said was, if you don’t commit to writing, you’ll never get that project done.
The thing is, I hear a lot from people about their WIP that never seem to be done. Years and years worth of writing the same book but it’s never finished. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes, that person isn’t really about finishing but the writing and it’s more a hobby than a goal to be published and that’s fine depending on what your goals are.
But the thing, the inescapable thing is that you cannot ever get your book published if you don’t finish it. Now there are loads of good reasons for not having time. I’ve got three of them under ten and one still in diapers (which I pray daily will soon end). I pick up and drive all over town, drop off, take to dental appointments, read endless stories to, play my little pony with, color, clean up after, make meals for and sometimes I even do housework. I write at night, even if I’m exhausted, after my kids are asleep. Sometimes I get in twenty minutes, sometimes I work for four or five hours. But I do it and I do it regularly because if I don’t, it won’t get done.
Do I drink a few glasses of wine sometimes and eat too much pizza and complain about not having any time to myself? Oh hell yes! Do I think, “oh I wish I had her schedule! I’d get so much more done if I did.” Yes. But I don’t have anyone’s schedule but my own and I never will so after I have to eat TUMS for the pizza, I start writing again. Because that’s the only path to getting published.
Is that a guarantee? Nope. Once you finish there are dozens of other hurdles, but you can’t even get to that point if you never finish.
And believe me, with every single book I write, I hit the shiny stage. You know, that other project you want to write sooo bad. The temptation is awful to set aside what you’re doing (because you hit the dreaded middle or whatever) and start on that shiny new thing. And sometimes? I have and finished that project and went back to the thing I’d set aside and it worked out just fine. But I only rarely give in to that temptation because I know it’s just that growing pain as the book hits the slow part and I’ve done it enough to know if I stick through it, I’ll be cooking again.
I had another writer say to me, not too very long ago, “well, it’s easy for you. Look how many books you’ve written. I have a job.” Like I sit around and eat bon bons all day (oh man, now that’s a schedule I’d envy). But even if I did, it doesn’t change her situation. Even if it was easy for me because Gerard Butler fed me grapes and gave me, er, inspiration all day long, she wouldn’t be me. So it’s a freaking waste of time for her to complain on top of being insulting because I work hard. Suck it up and write. Bitching won’t finish your fucking book. Whining won’t finish your book and it won’t change your time constraints.
Write or don’t, but make the damned choice and work to make it happen.
January 12th, 2007 at 9:12 pm · Link
Candy Havens is getting ready to run her First Draft ‘class’. She’s very adamant about losing the excuses. She even gives her regular work schedule to prove that there’s no excuse. I think it was Kate Duffy who said, “There are a lot of people who want to be published, but most don’t want to write.”
January 13th, 2007 at 12:04 pm · Link
Ow. But true. You don’t get more time. You have to use the time you have.
January 14th, 2007 at 11:15 am · Link
Great post, Lauren. It’s true for most things in life – if something is important to a person they’ll make time to fit it into their schedule. We all have choices.
January 14th, 2007 at 7:25 pm · Link
Boy, that’s the truth. If it’s important to you, you’ll do it no matter what the odds. Thanks, Lauren for the kick I needed.
January 15th, 2007 at 3:55 pm · Link
Amen!! So many of my unpublished friends have said to me, “But all you do is sit around all day. It isn’t like you have a real job. So, you have plenty of time to write. It’s no wonder you’re about to be published and I’m not.”
Every time I hear this I want to climb through the monitor and wring that person’s neck. Writing is hard, getting published even harder. But if you don’t make the time to do it, it will NEVER happen.