Just by reading the title of this post, I’m sure you can all guess what’s coming. I have spoken about this piece of advice before, and while I may not always be the best at following it myself, I still think it’s the best piece of advice that anyone can give to a writer. There can be lots of distractions that come along with writing these days. People may tell you that you should build your authorial brand by tweeting and creating a blog. You may think that you need to pinpoint exactly what is marketable by today’s standards and then write that. You may even be waiting for that ethereal inspiration to shine down on you before you begin to actually write.
But writing is the point of the whole thing. If you want to call yourself a writer, you don’t need a Twitter profile that declares your vocation, or a blog on which you type out your writing woes. All you need to do is write. Just sit down one day and get started. Choose a time each day and get some writing done then. Create a routine for yourself so that you’ll feel weird if you don’t write every day. Get into the habit and soon you’ll be on your way to a finished draft, a first draft, or just a cumulative body of work that you can hold up as your proof that you are, in fact, a writer.
So, yes, I have written posts like this before. But I think it’s an incredibly important mantra to repeat to yourself: just write. If you remember that above all else, you may just finish a story or reach your writing goals.
Not too long ago, the wonderful Chuck Wendig over at the Terrible Minds blog wrote about this topic as well. Here is an extract from his awesome post, Shut Up and Write (Or: “I Really Want to Be a Writer, But…”):
Don’t tweet about writing. Don’t read this blog. Don’t opine about writing or give writing advice or worry about who will publish your book or oh god will you self-publish or will you find an agent and how will you weather all that rejection and will your book cover just be some girl in leather pants with half-a-buttock turned toward the reader no — stop, quit that shit, stomp that roach, cut those thoughts and those actions right off at the knees.
Tomorrow, write more words until you can write words no more.
Then the next day.
Then the day after that.
In addition to this advice, I come bearing some tools and resources that you might find helpful. Firstly, there is an amazing blog on Tumblr called The Writing Cafe that offers tons and tons of research resources and writing resources if that’s what you’re looking for. Highly recommended. There is also Ze Frank’s Invocation for Beginnings, which is a great way to psych yourself up to just get started already. If you need a kick in the pants or some kind of deadline to work toward, consider checking out National Novel Writing Month or the Don’t Break the Chain method.
And if you’re sick and tired of all those trappings and advice, just stop reading this post and get writing.
– Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan