Doing the actual work.

October 8th, 2012

This weekend I actually got going on my writing.

I have a great corporate job, and in fact that part of my work is more rewarding than ever. But it’s no secret that, in the long run, I plan to write books for a living.

Lately it occurred to me — not for the first time — that the pace I’ve been following would mean that “the long run” could take 20 years or more.

I’m 40. And I don’t want to wait until I’m at retirement age to pursue my true avocation as my vocation.

So I rebooted my writing. If you’ve been following along here for any amount of time, you’ll know that I have lots . . . and lots . . . and lots of draftwork and outlines and ideas for all kinds of things: novels, short stories, essays, poems, scholarship, you name it.

But the key is to get down to work. I did some planning and housekeeping this weekend, things like organizing files and making a simple to-do list for my current projects. But I didn’t let that take more than an hour, total, because I don’t want to succumb to my weakness for planning or other meta-writing activities. For that matter, I didn’t let myself write this post (or yesterday’s, or my weekly CareOne column) until I had salted away several thousand words of actual, y’know, writing.

As it happens, this weekend I also came across a perfect tweet from an established writer, Chuck Wendig, that emphasized the same point:

Chuck is absolutely correct. And I was pleased to come across his dictum after I had written large chunks of fiction.

The moral of the story: it’s not that complicated. You don’t need a special plan or password or sacred space to do the work.

You just screw up your courage and do it.

Image source.

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