I have gotten, and given, in my life, a metric buttload of writing advice. The only advice that works every single time, of course, is to put your bottom in a chair and write. Writers write. You know that. I know that.
I have met approximately four billion people in this world who want to be writers and don’t write.
There have been times that I am one of those people.
What insanity is this?
Why do we as humans talk about writing so much and then do so precious little writing?
Here at the Deb Ball we have a trained mental health professional on staff. Deb Kerry always has a smart solution, a new way of looking at a problem, a sympathetic ear and a level of compassion that I could never match. She knows that there are a thousand good and understandable reasons that a person might not write, even if she wants to write.
Today is not Deb Kerry’s day to post. You’re stuck with me.
I am the Jillian Michaels of writing. If I could come to your house and yell at you to write until you barf, I would come to your house and yell until you barf. “Write!” I would scream. “What are you doing with those dishes? Put down those dishes! Have you written yet? I didn’t think so. Go write!”
While you were in the shower I would knock on the bathroom door. “Are you done in there? It is time to write. You better be plotting! I am coming in there!”
At night just seconds before you fell asleep I would pop out from the closet and shout “MY GOD HOW ARE YOU SLEEPING WHEN YOU DID NOT WRITE TODAY!?!?!?” And give you a heart attack.
And you know what? I would not be the only one shouting at you all day long. If you are a writer, that shouting voice already lives in your head. She is screaming at you to write or else. She is telling you, like the brilliant Bernadette in Maria Semple’s terrific beautiful hilarious novel, that if you don’t create you will be a menace. You may only be a menace to yourself, but if you long to write and don’t, you will probably find yourself shouting all day long at yourself until you do. And yes, though I am being tongue and cheek in this post, you can and probably should work on the shouting. The shouting, ultimately, is not that helpful. But it is often easier to just do as the shouty voice says than fight your own longings every step of the way.
So get that voice out of your head the only way you can. (No, not from coming after me with a baseball bat.) Write.
It’s what writers do, after all.