Friday, January 11, 2013

Pep talk for a lazy writer

Time to give myself a pep talk, because January is evaporating under me, and frankly, I haven't done squat.  There's always an excuse, isn't there?  I could list them all: family visits, foot surgery, waiting for my editors to send me something to work on . . . but the truth is that there is ALWAYS something an author can be working on, and ALWAYS something to prevent us doing it.  So time to give myself a pep talk, which may be full of threats, if that's what it takes.  These are meant for me.  If they work for you, take them and run with it.

1.  If you are a writer, then you'd better prove it.  Or get a real job.  Writers write.  Even when they are trying to keep a foot higher than their heart, or need to clean the shower, or any other awkward conditions prevail.

2.  Editing is work.  You have to do it anyway.  An hour a day will get the book done, eventually, and that's better than looking at the huge MS and thinking it's too much to do today, so I won't even start.  If you can't sit down and edit for an hour, you aren't a writer and should get a real job.

3.  Reward yourself.  Editing is work, so reward yourself with play.  That play should take the form of some actual writing--the fun stuff.  Use writing prompts to generate short stories, even if they are awful.

4.  Finish things.  Even if the short stories prompted by the random universe are awful, finish them before consigning them to oblivion.  It's good discipline.  I'm not actually sure about this--maybe it's a waste of time to keep going on something bad.  But I think that it's better to work it through, because a habit of giving up when things look like going wrong is not one I want to cultivate.  Fall into that trap and you'll need a real job with a real boss.

5.  Learn to write (and edit) with people watching.  I wrote about this last week--how my oldest son sat around during the holidays, surrounded by relatives talking, tapping away at his computer, writing an ever-growing story.  I get all bashful or something when there are witnesses, and I need to get over it.  Writing is what I do, so I need to do it (or else, yeah, get a real job).  Not that I'm saying I should have ignored the relatives the way the kid did.  But if my husband is in the living room reading a book, that really ought not stop me from working.  Christmas dinner is a valid excuse.  "Someone else is in the house" is not. (Oddly enough, I have no trouble working in a crowded coffee shop.  I think it's because I don't care what those people think).

Having written this. . . I'm going to take a shot at an hour's editing and a writing prompt.  I'll come back tomorrow and say if it worked.


  1. Okay, so here's how it worked out: I worked on my MS for 45 minutes, until I wanted my lunch. After lunch I wrote a thousand words for a draft of a short story.

    That worked pretty well. Today was Saturday, though, and I didn't do so well. I did manage a draft of a book review, coming soon. Part of why Saturday doesn't work so well: the kids hog the computers. The rest is that old sense that the weekend is a time not to work. Don't think I can afford that.

  2. New follower here. I stumbled across your blog through a goodreads thread!

    I look forward to your future posts and hope i can get some great advice .Hope i can see you back at either one of my blogs.

  3. Welcome! I'll certainly check out your blogs, and hope you find some interesting bits here.


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