September 22, 2013

Procrastination

Dear M,

People think writers are a permanently inspired lot - that they sit down and write every day and keep churning out book after book like they have nothing better to do. Many successful writers are more or less like that, but I think that is the discipline that they develop. Not because they don't want to postpone the writing, but because they know the day they do postpone, they have lost.

One of the easiest things is to get inspired to write. Everyone is inspired to write a few novels, every day. If all those books got written and published, there would be a book explosion rather than a population explosion or a garbage explosion on this planet. Luckily, many people do not get past the inspiration, many others don't get past the first ten pages, and some others don't get past the first draft or survive the first rejection.

But the ones who persevere, daily fight the fiercest battle of writing - procrastination. Have I spelled that right? What a horrid word. Procrastination.

We all have beautiful stories to tell. But writing it down in the form it should be written, or editing it to perfection, or re-writing it so that it reads the way we saw it in our mind, all those take so much of effort - days and weeks and, sometimes, years of effort. There is no other way but to work on it. It is so much easier to think, I will do it tomorrow.

We have urgent work, we have family responsibilities, we need to sleep, we need to travel, we are feeling sick, we badly need a break from this tiresome writing - there is no end to the excuses we can find. If we cannot break free of those, we will never finish it. And if we never finish it, we are not worthy of being called writers.

The other side of the story is that unless we have some encouragement, we cannot be motivated to write. If we have a publisher nagging us (oh, doesn't that sound sweet!) or an agent who is awed by our writing skills, it is difficult to keep the fire burning. It is much easier for the fire to die out.

I read a tweet recently that "A page a day is a book a year." Certainly not as simple as that, but yes, a page a day is an achievable goal, even allowing for emergencies. Isn't it?

Love.

Like this post on Facebook!

1 comment :