“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
― Stephen King, On Writing
Best piece of advice on writing…hands down. I’ve read hundreds of books, watched thousands of movies, listened to millions of songs, but I have never once considered myself an expert in literature, cinema, or music. At best, I’m simply a consumer, fan, and groupie. With that in mind, should I really be calling myself a “writer?” After all, it takes many years and millions of words to earn that title. How presumptuous of me. I’m sure Stephen King gets a good laugh at the thousands of folks parading around under the guise of “writer.” I should be ashamed.
Writing takes time. Good writing takes even longer. I find myself growing frustrated with this Time dilemma. My life pulls me in many directions, as does everyone’s life. No excuses here. Excuses are for the weak and I would never ascribe to such a lowly place; however, Time seems to be a constant reminder of what a bitch she is. She keeps me from doing what I want to do. I want to have several hours of uninterrupted time to be with my thoughts, to listen. I want time to perfect the writing I have already done, to fully immerse myself in my created worlds. Only, I can’t seem to find the time to do that.
Why not? I found the time to write the original fifty thousand words. I found the time to write this blog. I found the time to talk to several friends about it. I found time to cruise through several Facebook status updates, even “like” a few. I found time to re-tweet a couple of profound quotes. I found time to watch another episode of The Walking Dead. I found lots of time today. Just not the time I wanted to find.
If you want to do something you will find a way, otherwise you will find an excuse. Ah! Cue the trumpets! I didn’t find time today. I found excuses. Excuses that kept me away from doing the hard work I need to do.
Writing the story is the fun part. It is exciting. New adventures, new worlds, new people all awaiting their fate at the hand of the dastardly villain within a mystical place, now that is fun. Editing, deleting, re-writing, and struggling for precision and greatness can only mean I am coming to terms with myself. What was once fun, has now become work. And Work can’t possibly be fun. For most writers, the pain of editing and re-writing is a soul crushing reality that their work is just a mess.
I am currently tearing apart my second novel. I have switched so many chapters around. I have re-written the beginning and ending so many different times, I’m not even sure where to begin at this point. I am in a phase of writing I have never experienced. Then, I remembered something the wise Stephen King once said,
“Once I start work on a project, I don’t stop and I don’t slow down unless I absolutely have to. If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind – they begin to seem like characters instead of real people. The tale’s narrative cutting edge starts to rust and I begin to lose my hold on the story’s plot and pace. Worst of all, the excitement of spinning something new begins to fade. The work starts to feel like work, and for most writers that is the smooch of death.”
So that is what that sensation feels like? Only, I’m not being smooched. I have been swept of my feet and taken against my will. I am in the slobbery hell of a big wet one. I have let my story grow stale. I have let my mind get confused. I have let the people in my head become characters.
All the while, I have been complaining about time, and her unfair agenda to derail me at any cost. Turns out, she wasn’t a bitch after all, she was just my excuse.