Sunday, January 16, 2011

You Want to Write? Then Stop Writing.

I don't know if you're like me ... no, I don't mean if you're short, round and addicted to chocolate. Although you might be. And if you are don't start looking at me thinking I'm going to share any of my stash with you. Go get your own damned chocolate, woman.

What I'm talking about is that you write and like me you're on Twitter and Facebook and all those other social media places hanging out with writers. Published writers. New York published authors who are funny and brilliant and writing. A lot.

These author types sure do write. They post their progress with steadfastness. Our twitter feeds and facebook pages are testimonials to their famous flying fingers. Goodness, they can write 5,000 words and then say they haven't yet made their word goal.

For awhile there I tried to do the same. I tried to push my word counts. I gave myself goals and hid the chocolate from myself when I didn't reach them. Then I chastised myself bitterly when I found the chocolate I'd hidden and ate it.

Oh I was a sad, sad woman.

But awhile ago I was sitting and feeling bad because I wasn't writing and I was reading instead and I had an epiphany. (Later I had a bowel movement but that's another story.)

My epiphany went something like this: Writers need to live in the world in order to write. I can have a character sitting by a window looking at trees outside but to write well, to write as part of the world, my character might see the tree I'm looking at now that has one side of lush branches and the opposite side with sparcer growth, more weathered and affected by the elements its faced.

Live in the world and notice it. People watch. Listen in on conversations. Don't worry about how many words you've written: connect. If writing matters to you then you'll write. But if you've been involved in life, you'll have a lot more to write about.

Don't worry about your word counts. If you want to be a writer then make sure you take some time and stop writing.

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