Is there anything more intimidating than a blank screen or a blank sheet of paper?
Is there anything more exhilarating?
Right now, I can write absolutely anything. And it might turn out to be one of the best things I’ve ever written–or it can be utter crap. In all likelihood, it’ll end up somewhere in the middle. But every word is mine.
Writing is a personal and, at times, an intimate activity. Sharing any of your work can seem daunting and any criticism, a personal affront.
“Wendy, this is too awkwardly worded. Work on your syntax.”
“Wendy, less is more.”
And sure, maybe I write a little too much and I don’t edit enough. Sometimes I stare at a blank screen, willing myself to write something, anything. Other times the words flow from my fingertips, and I delete chunks of paragraphs. Then I romanticize the idea of being a writer: sitting at my desk (or… bed?), drinking a cup of coffee (Baja Blast), and listening to jazz (Coheed and Cambria).
For what? To write only when I’m inspired to? Because the muses have looked kindly on me?
No, that’s ridiculous. Writing is a skill, just like any other. It takes time and practice–persistence and dedication. Without discipline, the best a person can hope for is a novel that has nothing more than “Chapter 1.”
You have to read to be a writer. You have to write to be a writer.
And you need to write without caution. Without the fear that what you write isn’t good enough and that people will laugh at you. Or worse, that no one will care about your efforts. Don’t worry about your sentence fragments or your wordiness.
Editing is for chumps, a.k.a. future you.
Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.
- Stephen King