On JUST WRITE, DAMMIT!

Feb 08

Ever since writing and releasing Terra, I’ve been getting a lot of communication from people I hadn’t spoken to in a while–old friends from middle and high school, acquaintances and friends of friends who’ve heard about the book, even strangers who are simply book fans or aspiring writers themselves. And let’s be honest, it has been AWESOME. I’m a people-person, always have been, always will be, so getting to connect (and reconnect) with so many people over this little ol’ book that I wrote has been seriously wonderful.

I get a range of questions, of course, from those who are interested or invested in what I’ve produced, a few of which tend to repeat themselves more often than others. And as of this point in time, I’d say that the number one most-asked question that I get is simply, “How did you do it?” As in, how did I write a book–an actual, real, totally legit, full-length freaking novel? How did I write at all? And sometimes, I don’t even really know how I did it. Especially when I’m sitting in front of my computer with every intention of working on book 2, and no words come, and I’m like, “HOW THE HELL DID I WRITE AN ENTIRE BOOK, I HAVE FORGOTTEN HOW TO USE WORDS, FLARBITY GLARBITY JARLJUG.”

But then I attempt to compose myself and realize that I did, in fact, already a book, and I am going to do so again, and so when someone asks me how I did it, I probably need a better answer than, “Um… I dunno, I just did.” Mainly because it sounds kind of snobby (though let’s be honest, so am I).

Unfortunately, I have yet to really come up with one. How did I do it? I dunno, I just did. Should anyone come and ask me how I finally worked up the courage to put my ideas down on (digital) paper, my answer is simply that I wrote. A lot. And it was frustrating and it took a long time and sometimes I wanted to claw my eyes out and sometimes I wanted to throw my admittedly very expensive new laptop across the room and watch it satisfyingly shatter into a floppity jillion pieces but in the end (thankfully, I restrained myself), I still wrote.

So to those who might be aspiring writers, to anyone who has ever said to themselves, “I want to write a book!” but has no idea where to start, I simply say this: just write, dammit. No, actually, I say it in all caps: JUST WRITE, DAMMIT. I actually get a little frustrated with people who swear to high heaven that they want to be a writer, that their life’s ambition is to write a book, but they never actually try to do it. They never actually, you know, write. They say they can’t, but really they won’t. And hey, don’t get me wrong, I totally get it. It’s tough. The reason why there are about 4 billion people out there who say they want to write a book but only a fraction of a percentage of them who end up doing it is because it’s not easy. You have to fight every step of the way against your own brain, your motivation, your inspiration, and pretty much ALL the self-doubt that exists… ever. Writing a book requires diligence and perseverance and a strong sense of denial and not a small amount of egotism. But, man oh man, is it worth it.

So if you want to write, then write! Try. See if it really ends up being for you–if it’s not, then it’s not, and that’s no big loss. And if it is… then you could end up creating something amazing, and getting to feel the amazing sense of fulfillment that I have been lucky enough to already experience in my admittedly not-that-long life. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? And hey, if you’re still apprehensive, just think of it this way: Every single book out there–To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Old Man and the Sea, the Babysitters Club, 50 Shades of Crap, you name it–started with a single word. With an author sitting in front of a pad of paper or a typewriter or a computer and just writing, dammit.

5 comments

  1. Writing is both one of the hardest things I do, and one of the easiest. The hard part is pushing through the self-doubt and just WRITING. The thing is that – no matter what your life circumstances – no one EVER has time to write. The only way to have time to write is to MAKE time to write. (Crap. Too many capitalized words make me sound smug and intense and kind of narcissistic.)

    • Yes! I should have stated that writing isn’t ALL hard. The initial push is hard, and the making yourself do it when you don’t want to is hard. But the actual times when you’re in the flow and you’re making ideas come to life and using words–GLORIOUS WORDS–is fun and easy! Also, lol to smug capitalization.

  2. I love this. Sometimes it can be tough to “just write” and sometimes it can be wonderful, but no matter what, I’ve always found it to be inspiring. Getting to know the characters, going on their journeys with them, it’s consistently an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. For me, “just write” also becomes “just dream” and “just live” … and I wouldn’t have it any other way! :)

  3. That is the best I’ve ever heard, hands down.

  4. Here here! WRITING IS HARD!

    What I find to be the most frustrating is when you’re writing the scenes that are in between the ones that came naturally. Know what I mean? Those scenes that don’t come naturally to you and every sentence feels like you’re lugging yourself through waist high mud. Those are the worst writing times for me and the ones that really require me to kick myself in the arse and just write. It’s too easy to shut off my lap top and just say “I’m not inspired to write this scene right now, so I’ll wait until I am.”

    NO! It is no excuse! Just write it, even if it’s crap. You can always edit it later.

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