Writing is hard

I hear people say that all the time – writing is hard.  I don’t think it’s true.  Rather, I think writing well is hard – difficult even.  But writing?  Anyone can do that if they put pen to paper (or imaginary, pixel-pen to imaginary pixel-paper, as it were).  It probably isn’t going to be a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, but its writing nonetheless.

What is hard is sticking to it.  Mur Lafferty has been talking about it forever – you have to put your butt in the chair and write.  No one else can do it for you.

There’s a whole list of excuses not to write.  Here’s a sample list:

  • My fingers hurt
  • I don’t want to
  • I stubbed my brain in the shower
  • But, my computer is on the OTHER side of the room…
  • The cat ate my mouse
  • Doctor Who is on!

I have been more than terrible about this the past couple of weeks.  My ‘short story a week’ goal has been shot to shit.  Have you seen the little meters in the sidebar slide towards completed?  No.  Because they haven’t changed one iota.

That’s not to say I haven’t been writing – when I follow Mur’s advice and sit my butt in the chair, I do write – just not the short stories I’d planned to write.  Remember the whole plan?  (Not the one the Cylons didn’t actually have)  Trying to hone my short story skills?  Get better at it and build a folder of stories I could try to sell?

No, I keep going back to the novels.  I think my brain is against me.  It has its own plan (again, not the same as the Cylons).  It betrays me, distracts me.  Teases me with novel-type thoughts & ideas.

The only person who can change this trend is me.  I have to get back on track and focus on what’s important and finish the stories that I’ve started.  Again, remember the plan.  If I wrote a short story every week for a year, I’d have 52 stories.  Would all of those be pro quality ready to sell maybe might get me published?  No.  But the odds are good that I would have several decent pieces that would appeal plus I would have written 52 stories, which is fantastic.

So – back on track. *resolve face*



  • FARfetched Posted January 17, 2011 11:50 am

    Sometimes, you have to go with the flow. If what’s coming out of your fingers is a novel, write the doggone novel. You can always try cutting it back to a short later. As I’ve said in my technical writing career, it’s always easier to take stuff out than add it in.

    At least you’re writing something, which I would say is the important thing. What you said was “Butt in chair, write.” You didn’t say write this or that. 🙂

    Heck, White Pickups was originally a flash piece that kind of… blew up. Maybe you can go the other way…

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  • Matthew Sanborn Smith Posted January 17, 2011 8:28 pm

    I know how it is. I’m a total spazz about writing. A different plan every month and I never stick to anything. I do, however, keep writing.

    Good luck to you.

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