I can feel our relationship growing, all you strangers out there in the bit-abyss. I gave you a bit of my personal background, some kick ass resources for getting your stories and poems out there to a waiting audience, and dropped a bit of writer advice for you to chew on.
I know what you’re thinking. “Thanks, Mr. Semi-pro, this stuff is better than the chocolate Easter bunnies, the solid ones, not those cheap hollow ones that are made of wax cocoa and crumble to ash when you bite them. And you’re right: I am literate! I do want to write to justify all those years in school and share my awesomeness with the world. But my kids bite my ankles, my significant other keeps touching me in provocative ways, I gotta go to work and I got thangs… BIG THANGS poppin! I just don’t have the time.”
That’s when I tell you to stop talking, cause you had me at the chocolate bunny. The single best advice I can give you to help you actually get writing to happen, regardless of the quality of that work, is something you’ve probably heard already.
You’ve got to destroy distraction.
I’m sure you’ve heard it. But here’s where I may differ in what the other writing advice people are telling you. No matter what’s going on in your normal routine, or how hectic it is, even if them BIG THANGS are poppin like Reddenbacher KettleCorn, what’s getting in the way of your writing is you.
You are you own worst enemy when it comes to writing.
I know this because we’re all our own worst enemy when it comes to writing. Story writing is the greatest job I ever loved, but it’s still a job. Oftentimes hard work. And when you get that free moment the last thing you wanna do is work… sometimes even if you love it.
We seek distraction. We surf channels for distraction. It calls us up on the phone and tells us to get ready. We dig in chip bags and unwrap cellophane plastic for distraction. Please us. Entertain us.
Even out here in Iraq, with most of the major distractions effectively killed for me, do you guys realize there were times that instead of writing I was looking for something else to do? A movie, the Armed Forces Network, the extremely filtered Internet, god, something, anything!
Distractions destroy writing cause they’re fun. And if they’re not fun (like corraling the kids), then they’re at least easier than expressing those ideas you have. Stop going in the path of least resistance. Go on the attack and destroy distraction.
Turn off the tv. Stop thinking about what could be in the refrigerator. Handle your business when it comes to the kids, they shouldn’t be terrorizing the house 24/7 like it’s some kind of deranged sitcom anyway. Write your ideas down. If you’re getting stuck on the first catchy sentence, skip it and start at the middle or the end. Stuck on plot? Write an outline. Hell, write some of that sharp dialogue you pictured between protagonist and villain when you were thinking about writing it and how awesome it would be when you finished. Just write it.
When you believe yourself to be the most no time having person in the world, think of J.K. Rowling. Single mother of an infant, broke and on welfare, mom just died, suffering from clinical depression, life was looking as bleak and gray as English skies. If anyone could have used a distraction, it was her. She made writing her distraction. It was still work, cause all good writing takes work, but she got on the job. She wrote Harry Potter, sometimes on napkins if she didn’t have anything else to write on. The rest is literary history.
Long blog short, actively seek to destroy those distractions that detract from your plans and purpose. Make writing your distraction, the place you go to for rejuvenation.
If you’re waiting to write that neat idea or clever story later, remember that later will always be later until you make later now.