Thursday, May 05, 2005

Writing Tip: You Must Write

Sounds bloody obvious, doesn’t it? And it’s not really a tip at all, but an unwritten rule. . . . Well actually a written rule. But I am not the originator of it and it is hardly a new thought. I think this idea, at least as I first encountered it, came from Heinlein. It is the first of his rules about writing and it certainly bears repeating to beginning writers and even some who are already on their way. Pretty hard to become a writer or call yourself one if you don’t write now isn’t it?

Now here comes the "tips" part of the post. How do I write when I don’t have the time but I really want to? Well, first I say - there are twenty four hours in a day. Surely (sorry if this isn’t your name but I’ll use it as an example here) there must be some time, even 15 minutes you can find in your day to write? But I have a full time job, a family, clothes to wash, supper to prepare, clubs to hit, friends to see, etc., blah blah, yada yada. If you really do want to write - get on your ass - and write. The "I don’t have time" argument is bullshit, plain and simple. One tip to actually get you on your ass and writing is to do it every day but only for a short duration. Say, 15 minutes. What is this 15 minutes you ask? Well, I use 15 minutes because that’s how much of each hour of a TV show is a complete, pointless and utter waste of your time. Commercials are mind sucking time wasting crap. Avoid them if you can. And the everyday tip is good because it will build up the habit of writing and that’s what you want if you are going to stick with it. Anyway, here’s how you squeeze those 15 minutes of writing time out of your day. Tape that one show you like to watch (like Veronica Mars or whatever), and then watch it later skipping all those asinine commercials. When the show ends, what would have taken you 1 hour to watch only took 45 minutes or less (unless you are in Britain where the 1 hour shows run 50 minutes long I think. For you Brits - just squeeze the extra 5 minutes out of tea and scone time. I mean how many bloody teas and scones can you people eat and drink in a day anyhow?) Now seize those 15 minutes and get writing. See how easy that is. Hey, put down that excuse mister. . . .

So the long and short of it is this. If you want to be a writer, you must write. Do it every day if you can (I write Mon-Fri only, but have been at it a long, long time now) and it only has to be for a short time. Don’t kill yourself especially when you are forming the habit. You can build up to longer sessions later once you are consistently writing. For more information on durations etc., see my post under the April Archives titled, Writing Tip: Pacing and Taking Breaks.

Now sit your ass down, turn off the TV, drop the scone, and write right now for 15 minutes. Then, when you have finished, you can call yourself a writer.

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