After one has read the two daily newspapers and corralled the errant paperclips; after one has made a cup of tea and snatched the last two graham crackers; after one has visited the john and wiped her glasses, it is, at long last, time to write. Then again, this could be a good time to alphabetize the several hundred volumes in one’s library. And is it wrong, on the return trip from the fridge, if one were to do a quick wipe of the dust on the hall table with the tail of her t-shirt? Or water the plants? Or check her email?
Looking for the can of compressed air to blow the grit out of the keyboard is not procrastination in action, it is simply good maintenance of expensive equipment. Really, how can a gal be expected to type when the skin on her hands is so dry it snaps, crackles, and pops? Giving the Aveeno lotion time to absorb just keeps the keyboard from getting greasy and is not a delaying tactic.
Stalling would just be wrong.
After all, any would-be writer knows that the first rule of success is to actually write. Not to read about writing, not to talk about writing, not to dream about writing, but to actually apply butt to chair and do it. Or in the words of Red Smith: ?There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.?
Smith, an American sportswriter who died in 1982, can be forgiven for his dated technology while being credited for a bang-on visual. Millions of words have been written about the struggle, the reward, the challenges, and the process of writing. My new favourite quote is from author/blogger/mentor Joe Konrath: ?There’s a word for a writer who never gives up . . . published.?
As writers we get to set our own goals. It may be a number of hours, words, or pages that we aim for each day. we’re also in charge of rewards, and I’m sure you don’t need my suggestions there.
Having some good people in our corner is just as important as attitude and discipline. We need people who are walking the walk and generous enough to share insight, advice, and shortcuts through the learning curve. In the last few weeks, I visited an elderly writer in my area, a woman with a thousand magazine stories to her credit. I loved listening to the war stories of her career. I was touched by her belief in my skill. There’s a not-so-subtle inducement to live up to her opinion.
I am also the benefactor of fellow columnist and former Voice editor Sandra Livingston’s generosity. When my first novel appears as a Smashwords edition, when my website goes live, when I do my first Tweet and first blog post, it will be because Sandra provided gentle encouragement and nitty-gritty practical advice.
And yes, it will be because I got butt to chair and opened a vein. When it comes down to it, there’s no other way, from where I sit.