Every Monday night, I co-host a writing chat, #writersroad, on Twitter. My co-host, Heather McCorkle and I have held this chat for years. It’s a wonderful forum to meet writers and to spend an hour among our peers learning from one another.
When you put yourself out ‘there’ as a writer, when you lasso the title of ‘writer,’ inevitably you are asked your opinion. You are also confronted by a litany of folks who make excuses. Now, I’m not adverse to the excuse bit. I hear and speak them daily. But what I’ve discovered in my brief tenure as a writer and editor is that excuses can be one of a writer’s greatest hindrances.
No matter your opinion, the stark reality of writing is that it is quite a difficult gig. You have to do the work. As readers, we may pick up a guilty pleasure read, get a few chapters in and start to believe, “hell, I can write better than this.” That may be true, but what separates the confident reader from the published writer, is that the writer did the work.
I hear it all the time: “I’m so busy…I have a job and a family and little yellow minions who depend on me to direct them in our devious world dominating plans. I just don’t have the time to write.” That may be true, (and if it is, may I offer my humblest gratefulness if you choose not to assimilate me and mine into your collective), but making excuses, even if they are great, viable excuses still isn’t you getting the work done.
Do you want to know the super secret answer to being a successful writer? Hold on to your hats, kiddos, because I’m going to lay some deep knowledge on you: Sit your butt in the chair, hands on the keyboard and write.
Your mind is blown now, isn’t it?
In order to succeed you have to make an effort. A writer’s effort means doing the work, writing and finishing the story. Start one, finish it. If you get stuck, step back, pick up a craft book, outline, do what you must to get to the finish line, but make certain that you cross that finish line.
These are things I’ve learned communicating with writers on Twitter. These are the maxims I have discovered while I wasn’t writing. But, hey, okay, I’m not a NYT best seller. Our little website isn’t pulling in a billion visitors a day. That’s okay, you don’t have to take my word for it. So, to back up what I’m telling you, I’ve included in the following words of wisdom from writers in the know.
Here’s what those you fangirl/boy have to say about doing the work. Let us know if you agree in the comments below!