I have a friend who talks about writing, even goes through the motion of writing scenes, story arcs, dialogue, but he never really writes a word.
A word of fiction, that is. He’s written academic papers and feature stories for newspapers, and all manner of scenes, notes and such, but this notion of starting something just keeps buzzing around him like a fly in summer.
In a post called Rewrite the Story of Who You Are at the Writer’s Living blog, Monica Carter Tagore has a great advice on getting the words going.
Monica says, basically, the problem is in your head. “Look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘I am a writer.'”
I wish I could get him to do this. He comes up with every excuse possible to avoid getting started. I wish I could get my friend to follow this advice: “Just promise yourself you’ll sit down and write for ten minutes or promise yourself you’ll write two pages. And that’s it.” I’ve known him for 30 years. We talk on the phone every week. He has read everything I’ve given him to read in the past five years. But he can’t seem to get going on his own work.
I think he just does not have it in him. I encourage him as much as I can. And I know he has not one great stories to tell, but two. He’s told them to me a thousands times, in bars, in living rooms, during car drives.
But write something down, page after page, day after day? Nope. I hate to say it, but long experience with this man tells me he’s going to be talking about this until the end of his days. And never a word written down found anywhere.
And this, I confess, inspires me to keep working on my stories every day. I, too, spent a lot of time talking about my writing but with little to show for it. That was some time ago. Now I have work on the verge of being publishable, and my journey through the writing life just might reach the land of publication sometime this year.
Because all I do was what Monica says to do: sit down and write for ten minutes or twenty or thirty, and write two or four or six pages. Not in a journal. Not research notes. Not scenes or character sketches. I write the story.
And I think that’s all it comes down to: Just do it.
How do you get it done?